Skip to main content

Full text of "Iwain; a study in the origins of Arthurian romance"

See other formats

The original of tiiis book is in 
tine Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

889 tZ2 LZO ^ZQi Z 



This study, in a form somewhat more extended, was presented in 
May, 1900, to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard Univer- 
sity in fulfillment of a requirement made of candidates for the degree 
of Doctor of Philosophy. The manuscript was revised and sent to 
the composing room in this same year, and has been in type for a 
long time. Hence it has been impossible to insert references to a 
number of recent books and articles. 

The object of the dissertation is to investigate the vexed question 
of the sources of Chretien's Ivain. No attempt has been made to 
pursue the study of Iwain through the later romances,^ though that 
would without doubt lead to interesting results. Nor has any dis- 
cussion been attempted of the exact relations of the versions of the 
story in the different languages of Western Europe, or of the still- 
disputed question of the connection between the Welsh Owein atid 
Lunet and the French poem. It did not appear that those subjects 
could be treated with absolute thoroughness until the real nature of 
the story of the Ivain had been determined, — that is to say, until the 
question of the sources of the Ivain had been settled, at least so far 
as the nature of the evidence admitted. It was felt that this could 

1 To the section on the Giant Herdsman (pp. 70-74) ought to be added a note 
referring to the Livre d'Artus, MS. P (summarized by Freymond, Zt. f. franz. 
Sprache, XVII, 1-128, 1895), where is an account of a combat at a fountain that 
exhibits almost verbal borrowings from the Ivain, but changes the story in certain 
striking particulars. The Huge Herdsman is expressly said to be MerHn in dis- 
guise, who has assumed this shape in order to lead Calogrenant to the fountain. 
This passage in the Livre d'Artus proves that the wood-monster in Chretien's 
Ivain was easily understood as somebody in disguise. 


This study, in a form somewhat more extended, was presented in 
May, 1900, to the Faculty of Arts and Sciences of Harvard Univer- 
sity in fulfillment of a requirement made of candidates for the degree 
of Doctor of Philosophy. The manuscript was revised and sent to 
the composing room in this same year, and has been in type for a 
long time. Hence it has been impossible to insert references to a 
number of recent books and articles. 

The object of the dissertation is to investigate the vexed question 
of the sources of Chretien's Ivain. No attempt has been made to 
pursue the study of Iwain through the later romances,' though that 
would without doubt lead to interesting results. Nor has any dis- 
cussion been attempted of the exact relations of the versions of the 
story in the different languages of Western Europe, or of the still- 
disputed question of the connection between the Welsh Owein and 
Lutiet and the French poem. It did not appear that those subjects 
could be treated with absolute thoroughness until the real nature of 
the story of the Ivain had been determined, — that is to say, until the 
question of the sources of the Ivain had been settled, at least so far 
as the nature of the evidence admitted. It was felt that this could 

1 To the section on the Giant Herdsman (pp. 70-74) ought to be added a note 
referring to the Livre d'Artus, MS. P (summarized by Freymond, Zt. f. franz. 
Sfrache, XVII, 1-128, 1895), where is an account of a combat at a fountain that 
exhibits almost verbal borrowings from the Ivain, but changes the story in certain 
striking particulars. The Huge Herdsman is expressly said to be Merlin in dis- 
guise, who has assumed this shape in order to lead Calogrenant to the fountain. 
This passage in the Livre d'Artus proves that the wood-monster in Chretien's 
Ivain was easily understood as somebody in disguise. 

vi Prefatory Note to Iwain. 

only be done by a study of all accessible Celtic other-world stories, 
whether Irish or Welsh, and an investigation of the primitive char- 
acter and the development of that particular type of " fairy mistress " 
story which it might appear that the Ivain most resembled. This is 
the object of the present discussion, and all other questions have 
been subordinated. 

It is believed that the results have justified the undertaking. Not 
only does the supposed connection of the Ivain with The Matron of 
Ephesus appear to be disproved, but the theory of a Celtic origin 
for the Ivain story has, it is thought, been established beyond a 
reasonable doubt. It is hoped that the following pages may also be 
of service in throwing some new light on the nature of Celtic fairy 
tales and in pointing out new parallels between Irish and Welsh 

I wish to express my hearty thanks to Professor Schofield, who 
suggested the subject of this investigation and has continually aided 
me with friendly criticism and advice ; and to Professor Kittredge 
and Professor Sheldon, who have given me invaluable direction 
and have permitted me to draw upon their time and scholarship in 
many ways. All three, with Professor Robinson, have had the great 
kindness to read the entire paper in proof. 

I am also indebted for various services to Professor Arthur R. 
Marsh, Professor G. W. Benedict of Brown University, Professor 
W. D. Howe of the University of Indianapolis, Dr. Alma Blount, for- 
merly of Radcliffe College, Professor R. H. Fletcher of Washington 
University, and Professor E. F. Langley of Dartmouth College. 

A. C. L. B. 

The University of Wisconsin, 
March 15, 1903. 



DEFINITE study of the sources of Chretien's Ivain is not very 
old. The earliest discussion of the subject that requires 
mention here was that of Rauch ' in 1869. Rauch argued that the 
Welsh Owein and Lunet is not the source of Chretien's Ivain, as La 
Villemarque and other earlier writers had supposed, but that both 
tales go back to a common original. This common original- must, 
he thought, have been " eine zum Zweck des Erzahlens zusammen- 
gestellte Sammlung mehrerer in verschiedenen Zeiten entstandener 
Erzahlungen " (p. n), which had perhaps no other connection than 
that they all dealt with a knight called Iwain. One of these stories, 
that of the Fountain, repeats itself in true mdrchen style " nach der 
Weise des Volksmarchens unermiidlich mit derselben Ausfiihrlichkeit 
und denselben refrainartig wiederkehrenden Ausdriicken," and con- 
tains in the Welsh version some very primitive features. For exam- 
ple, " es zeigt uns die Konigin mit ihren Frauen am Fenster des 
Saales Nadelarbeit verrichtend, wahrend der Konig in demselben 
Raume schlummert." Rauch regarded it as certain, therefore, that 
this part of the story at least is a Celtic tale much older than the 
period of Chretien de Troies. 

In 1879 Blume brought into prominence a comparison between 
Laudine and the theme of the Easily Consoled Widow. Blume 

1 Diewdlischejfranzosischeund deutsche Bearbeitung der Iweinsage, Berlin, 1869. 
Holland, Crestien von Troies, Tubingen, 1854, sliould perhaps be mentioned also ; 
see especially p. 171. 

2 A. C. L. Brown. 

quoted^ from Gervinus, who had expressed himself^ as shocked 
by the sudden change of feeling experienced by Laudine, and 
added : " Aber war Gervinus denn die Geschichte von der treulosen 
Witwe " unbekannt, die in den Literaturen aller Zeiten und Volker 
begegnet und also doch wohl in der Psychologie des Weibes ihre 
Erklarung finden muss ? Hat er vergessen, wie die Prinzessin Anna 
bei Shakespeare sich von Richard von Gloster kirren lasst ? " 

In 1883 Goossens* published a dissertation in which he undertook 
to deal with the whole question concerning Iwain. He thinks the 
kernel of the story was a folk-tale localized in Brittany, aBout a 
wonderful fountain that revenged itself on its profaner. In the 
course of time, he thinks, the punishment became personified in the 
knight whom Iwain slew. He thinks that Chrdtien heard the story 
from a Breton bard, and that the Welsh version is founded on some 
French form of the Breton tale. The story, as told by the bards, 
was probably well settled in its main features, but Chrdtien doubtless 
altered it somewhat. He put in many reflective passages, enriched 
the dialogue, and introduced the courtly manners of his time. On 
the whole, however, the Ivai?t is a string of adventures somewhat 
disconnected and not entirely understood by the author. 

In 1884 appeared the first ^ of the excellent editions of the works 
of Chretien prepared by Professor Wendelin Foerster. In his intro- 
duction this scholar adopted the unfortunate idea that the kernel of 
the Ivain is the theme of the Easily Consoled Widow, an idea that 
he has ever since defended with much vigor. He says : " Sehen wir 
scharfer zu, so finden wir, dass, abgesehen von der Oertlichkeit (Broce- 
liande u. s. f.) und den Namen der handelnden Personen, keine 
Spur von keltischem Stoff zu finden ist, und — vielleicht ist dies ein 
nicht zu unterschatzendes Moment — es fehlt auch thatsachlich jede 

1 Ueber den Iwein des Hartmann von Aue, ein Vortrag, p. 19. 

'^ Geschichte der deutschen Dichtung, 4th ed., 1853, I, 371. 

8 The comparison of Laudine to the Widow of Ephesus was first suggested by 
Simrock, Altdeutsches Lesebuch in neudeutsdier Sprache, Stuttgart, 1854, p. 230 
(quoted by Holland, Crestien von Troies, 1854, p. 158). 

^ Heinrich Goossens, Ueber Sage, Quelle und Komposition des Chevalier au 
Lyon des Crestien de Troyes, Paderborn, 1883. 

* Cligis, Christian von Troyes, Samtliche Werke, I. 

Iwain. 3 

Erwahnung und Anspielung auf eine vom Dichter benutzte Quelle. 
Der Kern des Lowenritters ist vielmehr ein alter Bekannter, der aus 
weiter Feme auf vielen Umwegen nach Frankreich gekommen war, 
nemlich die Sage von der leicht getrosteten Wittwe, die in der 
Variante der ' Matrone von Ephesus' am bekanntesten ist. Um 
diesen Kern ist alles andere gewickelt. Aber welch eine wahrhaft 
geniale Kunst, diesen abgedroschenen, plumpen Stoff zu behandeln ! 
. . . Um diesen Kern gruppirt nun Christian den Konig Artus und 
seinen Hof, er fiihrt uns an die Zauberquelle im Wald Broceliande, 
er fiihrt uns Riesen im Kampfe vor, lasst uns in die (schpn damals 
existirende) Sklaverei der Fabriken (hier eine Seidenweberei) einen 
fliichtigen Blick werfen — aber all dies ist nichts als Beiwerk, ange- 
than, um sich gewogene Leser zu verschaffen, die alle den modernsten 
aller Stoffe, die grosste ' actualM,' nemlich die Artussage, heissgierig 
verlangten. Allein um dem Roman die richtige Lange zu geben, 
greift der Dichter zu einem von ihm bereits friiher {Erec} behandelten 
Thema, dem ' Verliegen ' des Ritters, das er diesmal (mit Erec ver- 
glichen) auf den Kopf stellt und so lasst er den gliicklichen Brautigam, 
eben dass er sich nicht 'verHege,' gleich nach der Hochzeit in die 
Welt auf Abenteuer ziehen " (pp. xvi-xvii). Foerster adds that Cliges 
is made out of the well-known story of the "betrogener Ehemann," 
just as Ivain is made out of the " Matrone von Ephesus." 

In his edition of Ivain in 1887 Foerster reiterated this opinion 
about the source of the story, adding the following remarks ' : " Uber 
die Eigenart der echten keltischen Sagenstoffe kann man sich wohl 
ein Urteil aus der Vergleichung der vorhandenen, gesicherten Proben, 
wie Mellon und den damit eng verwandten Bisclavret, Yonec, Corn, 
Ignaure, Tydorel,^ machen. Allen ist das Ubernatiirliche gemeinsam : 
Wehrwolf, Zaubertrank, Fee u. dgl. oder grausiger Mord und andere 
fremdartige Dinge. Jedermann denkt sofort an die Zauberquelle, 
den Zauberring Lunetens (vgl. aber Gyges) und auch ich habe nichts 
dagegen, dieses Beiwerk als keltisch gelten zu lassen ebenso wie den 

^ Der Lowenriiter, Christian von Troyes, SdmtUche erhaltene Werke, II, xxii- 

^ In a footnote Foerster remarks : " Selbst Tristan kann ich nicht fiir keltisch 

4 A. C. L. Brown. 

Riesen, den Yvaiti besiegt. Zuletzt kame Artus und sein Hof, deren 
keltischer Ursprung nicht gelaugnet werden kann ; man nehme aber 
statt dessen frankische, griechische oder romische Namen und Lokali- 
taten, und die ganze Geschichte bleibt dieselbe. Es ist also rein 
aussere Zuthat. — Damit ist aber auch alles keltische erschopft, und 
man muss zugeben, dass diese Elemente fehlen konnen, ohne dass 
der Yvain darunter litte. Die Quelle von Broceliande gibt dam 
Dichter bloss die Gelegenheit, seinen Helden mit der Heldin in 
Verbindung zu bringen, wie der Galgen und das Grab; er konnte 
ebensogut ein anderes Mittel wahlen. Der Riese ist nur eine 
Nummer mehr in der Reihe der von Yvain bestandenen Abenteuer 
und hat mit der Erzahlung iiberhaupt gar nichts welter gemein. 
Alleln der Kern selbst, dass namlich die Heldin den Morder ihres 
geliebten Gatten heiratet, scheint keltisch sein zu konnen : allein es 
ist, wie ich oben bemerkt, ein internationaler SagenstofE, der in 
Frankreich durch die Fabeldichtung langst bekannt war, bevor die 
matiere de Bretagne anfing, dort Aufnahme zu finden. Doch selbst 
zugegeben, dass Christian diesen Stoff durch Vermittlung der breto- 
nischen Legende erhalten haben sollte, hatte er ihn doch selb- 
standig verarbeitet, und sein Verdienst ist daher in beiden Fallen 
dasselbe. Denn die Art, wie Christian diesen Kern zur Schiirzung 
und Losung des Knotens verwendet, ist eine seiche, dass sie, inhalt- 
lich betrachtet, keltisch nicht sein kann. Der Held nimmt, um durch 
Verliegen seinen Ritterwert nicht einzubiissen, Urlaub von der eben 
gewonnenen Gattin und zieht auf Abenteuer aus. Er lasst die ihm 
bewilligte Frist verstreichen und, von der Gattin verstossen, wird er 
wahnsinnig.^ Durch eine Zaubersalbe Morgan's der Fee (er konnte 

' Foerster here adds a note which shows his characteristic method of reason- 
ing about this subject : " Dieses Motiv kehrt auch sonst in Artusromanen wieder. 
Ist es keltisch oder hat Christian es zuerst angewandt und so in die Artuslitteratur 
eingefiihrt? Fragen, die sich nicht entscheiden lassen, die aber unsere Ansicht 
nicht beeintrachtigen." Foerster is evidently entirely at a loss to explain the 
" madness motive," and yet it is evident that any theory, to hold its ground, must 
explain such a curious feature of the story as this. He continues : " Die keltische 
Legende (wenn es wirklich eine solche gegeben hat, die zu den Franzosen 
gekommen) kann im besten Fall nur die einzelnen Mosaiksteinchen geliefert 
haben, daraus dann die franzbsischen Kiinstler die feinen bunten Gemalde 

Twain. c 

natiirlich auch anders genesen oder gar nicht wahnsinnig werden : 
blosser Zierrat) genesen, erwirbt er sich unter dem fremden Namen 
des Lowenritters hohen Ruhin und wird endlich, ohne eigentliche 
Siihne, ausserlich durch einen Kunstgriff der Zofe, mit seiner Herrin 
•wieder ausgesohnt. Diese beiden treibenden Ideen nun : ' Verliegen 
und Ritterehre ' sind rein franzosisch,^ und konnen daher ebenso 
wenig aus der Bretagne (sei es der grossen und der kleinen) stammen, 
wie der vom Helden befreite und ihn begleitende Lowe, der zwar in 
Nordafrica (Androclus 1) vorkommt, aber nicht bei den Kelten." 

These views of Foerster's were speedily objected to by Gaston 
Paris.^ Paris said: "Je crois qu'il va trop loin dans la reaction 
legitime qu'a provoqu^e le celticisme k outrance ; mais c'est Ik une 
question qui demande un examen long et special. Je me borne ici 
k remarquer que je ne comprends pas comme M. F. le sujet primitif 
du rdcit que Chrdtien a mis en vers. II y voit une variante du conte 
de la Matrone d'Ephese; j'y vois bien plutot une forme alt^r^e du 
thfeme que nous retrouvons dans Guingamor, dans Oger le danois, 
dans Tanhduser, etc. : le h^ros quitte une fe'e, dont il est devenu 

zusammenstellten " (p. xxiii). So far as this means that Chretien dressed up his 
Celtic material in the costume of the age of chivalry, it is certainly justified, but the 
figure of a mosaic made up of stones gathered here and there is an unwarranted 
one to use till it has first been proved that Chretien could not have found the 
greater part at least of the separate incidents of the Ivain already in combination. 
A priori, the probabilities are against any patchwork theory. 

1 Foerster's main argument against the Celtic theory is really that the Arthurian 
romances in the form in which they have come down to us are full of the ideas of 
the age of chivalry, and therefore can have no foundation in rude antiquity. I 
have already called attention to the weakness of this argument, in an article (The 
Round Table before Wace") in Harvard Studies and Notes, VII, 193-194, note : " It 
is not true, as has been sometimes carelessly maintained, that the chivalrous setting 
in which Arthurian stories have come down to us disproves their foundation in 
Tude antiquity. A primitive story may be beautified and adorned as civilization 
advances, and may, so to speak, change its costume in accordance with the fashion 
of later times. . . . Many cases are known in which rude incidents have been 
pressed up in the chivalrous costume of later times. The French Horn et Rimen- 
hild, e.g., represents the same story as the cruder English King Horn, only 
' expanded by many courtly details of feast and tournament ' (Ward, Catalogue of 
Romances, I, 455)" 

2 Romania, XVII, 334-335 (18 

6 A. C. L. Brown. 

l¥poux, avec rintention de revenir, et il oublie une promesse qu'il 
lui a donnde ou une ddfense qu'elle lui a faite ; I'anneau que la 
' dame de la fontaine ' (certainement une f^e dans la version origi- 
naire) fait enlever k Ivain rappelle des incidents analogues de plusieurs 
contes qui ont la meme donne'e. Ce nom de ' dame de la fontaine,' 
devenu incomprdhensible (cf. Guingamor, v. 122), a fait inserer ici 
I'histoire de la fontaine dont I'eau agit^e provoque Torage (croyance 
d'ailleurs celtique), et de la manifere chevaleresque dont le hdros s'en 
empare ; mais ces Episodes, pas plus que celui du lion reconnaissant, 
n'appartiennent au fonds primitif." 

In his smaller edition of Yvain in 189 1 ' Foerster replied to Paris 
by (i) stoutly asserting, without offering any proof, that Laudine is 
not a/ee, and (2) by admitting that Chre'tien may have borrowed the 
" forgotten promise " episode from some [f^l story like those men- 
tioned by Paris : " Mag nun auch der Dichter wirklich das folgende 
(Vergessen des Versprechens) sich aus einem solchen Stoff geholt 
haben, sicher ist, dass die Episode, welche ich auf die Witwe von 
Ephesus zuriickfiihrte, damit unter keinen Umstanden etwas zu thun 
hat." ^ 

This passage contains a fatal admission of the true character of 
Foerster's method of dealing with literary origins. He searches 
about for sources and finds one incident here and another there. 
Chretien, he says, must have combined these various incidents. To 
such a theory the addition of a few more entirely disconnected 

1 Romanische Bibliothek, V, xiv, footnote. 

2 In this same introduction to Yvain Foerster dwells particularly on his compari- 
son of the Matron of Ephesus. He says (p. xiii) : " Diese leicht getrostete Witwe 
[Laudine] ist ein direkter Nachkomme der bekannten ' Witwe von Ephesus.' 
Kein einziger aller der boshaften Ziige, die das Original besitzt, fehlt dem neuen 
Abbild desselben." The central point of the whole episode is, he thinks, indicated 

by the lines 

C'est cele qui prist 

Celui qui son seignor ocist (w. 1809-10), 

and this he regards as proved by the following reflection of the poet's : 

Mes or est mes sire Yvains sire, 

Et 11 morz est toz obliez. 

Cil qui I'ocist est mariez 

An sa fame et ansanble gisent (w. 2164 ff.). 

I warn. 7 

sources can make little difference. A view like this cannot be 
refuted, just as it cannot be established. It can hold the field only 
in default of any explanation that shows, already combined, most of 
the elements which Foerster asks us to believe were brought together 
by Chretien. The mosaic character of Foerster's theory is clearly 
shown by the analysis of Chretien's Ivain which he has very recently 
published in his edition of the Lancelot ^ : " Ivain : ortliche Quellen- 
sage + Ring des Gyges + Wittwe von Ephesus + Lowe des Androklus." 
This, then, is the best outline Fqerster is able to make of his theory, 
and it indicates four entirely disconnected sources. Moreover, there 
are, on his own admission, one or two other sources (e.g., for the 
Forgotten Promise and the Madness Motive) which he has simply 
omitted, not explained away. 

Such a theory is manifestly unfair. Everybody knows that the 
most complicated story can be taken apart into simple elements, and 
these simple elements can then be found separately almost anywhere. 
It is not the finding of a single element that proves a source. The 
combination of elements alone is significant. The more elements 
already in combination a supposed source can show, the stronger, 
other things being equal, is the probability of its being the true one. 
These are the simplest principles of reasoning, but Foerster's method 
of dealing with this problem in literary origins seems to ignore them. 

Of course this theory of Foerster's did not pass without challenge. 
In 1889 Mussafia^ said: "So viel gestatte ich mir zu bemerken, 
dass ich die Ansicht, nach welcher das Motiv der leicht getrosteten 
Wittwe den eigentlichen Kern der Erzahlung bilden soil, so bestechend 
sie auch erscheinen moge, als durchaus unhaltbar betrachte. Das 
wesentlichste Merkmal der weit verbreiteten Mahre bildet doch 
deren satirische Tendenz ; sie will den Wankelmuth eines der sinn- 
lichen Lust frohnenden Weibes geisseln. Ein solcher Stoff lasst sich 
nicht veredeln und vertiefen, ohne dass er seine Existenzberechtigung 
einbiisse; Chrestien, welcher die Liebenden der Vergangenheit im 
Gegensatze zur Entartung der Zeitgenossen preist, kann doch nicht 

1 Christian von Troyes, Sdmtliche erhaltene Werke, IV, Ixxxi (1899), Der Kar- 
renritter und das Wilhelmsleben. 

2 A. Mussafia, Literaturblatt f. germ . u. rem. Phil., 1889, col. 221. 

8 A. C. L. Brown. 

eine solche Untreue an dem heimgegangenen Gemahle als den eigent- 
lichen Vorwurf seiner Dichtung gewahlt haben." 

Similarly, in 1890, Muret^ remarked with reference to Foerster's 
theory that the Chevalier au Lion is only a variant of the story of the 
Matron of Ephesus : "A ce point de vue, le noyau du r^cit serait 
formd par les trois ou quatre cents vers oli Laudine, pressde par les 
arguments de Lunfete, se decide k ^pouser le meurtrier de son mari 
bien-aime. La fontaine enchant^e de la for6t de Brocdliande, Arthur 
et sa cour, les aventures du chevalier Ivain — presque toute la nar- 
ration en un mot, — ne fourniraient que des accessoires, habilement 
disposes pour charmer un public engoud des hdros de la Table- 
Ronde. II est certain que la plupart des episodes ne convergent 
nullement autour du prdtendu centre du pofeme. Comme celui-ci 
compte prfes de sept mille vers, on s'attendrait k ce que M. F. le 
jugeat un des ouvrages les plus mal composes qu'il y ait dans aucune 
littdrature. Nous sommes done un peu surpris de lire, en tete de la 
pr^sente Edition [1887] du Chevalier au Lion, que ce roman reprd- 
sente I'art d'un Chretien de Troyes parvenu k son plus haut point 
de perfection." 

Finally, in 1896, Ahlstrom^ replied to Foerster's arguments at 
length : " M. Foerster affirme d'abord que notre roman est le seul oil 
Chrdtien ne donne aucune indication sur I'origine du sujet. Cela 
prouve — selon M. Foerster — que I'auteur doit avoir eu une raison 
toute sp^ciale pour garder le silence, r^sidant dans ce fait que I'auteur 
ne devait sa matifere k aucun livre ni k aucun conte, mais seulement 
k sa propre imagination. 

" La v^ritd des premisses est au moins bien douteuse ; la conclusion 
semble I'^tre encore plus. 

" D'abord, on ne peut pas dire qu'il manque k notre roman toute 
mention d'origine. M. Holland a ddjk attir^ I'attention sur les vers 
6816 et suiv.° . . . : 

1 Ernest Muret, Revue Critique, XXIX, 67 (1890). 

2 Axel Ahlstrom, Sur VOrigine du Chevalier au Lion, in Milanges dSdiis h Carl 
Waklund, Macon, 1896, pp. 289-303. 

= Ahlstrom quotes also vv. 33 ff., but I have omitted them, for it seems clear, 
as Paris pointed out in 1897 {Romania, XXVI, 106), that they are not in particular 
about Ivain, " mais en general d'Arthur." 

I wain. g 

V. 6814 Del Chevalier au lion fine 
Crestiiens son romanz einsi ; 
Qu'ongues plus cottier n'an oi 
Ne ja plus n'an orroiz center 
S'an n'i viaut mangonge ajoster. 

" II nous semble que dans ces quelques vers I'auteur se prononce 
assez positivement sur I'origine de son thfeme. II I'a entendu center. 
... A notre avis, cela doit indiquer que Chre'tien a rim^ son roman 
d'aprfes un conte en ce temps populaire chez les Bretons. . . . 

"Nous croyons done que le pobte a voulu lui-meme indiquer un 
conte frangais our breton comme ayant €\.€ la base de son roman ; 
quand m6me il aurait gardd un silence complet, une conclusion 
comme celle de M. Foerster resterait toujours trfes incertaine " 
(pp. 290-291). 

Ahlstrom then quotes Foerster's explanation of the story as a 
development from the theme of the Easily Consoled Widow, and 
adds : " En lisant ces lignes, ne croirait-on pas que la f ameuse veuve 
d'£phfese ait, elle aussi, commencd par maudire le meurtrier de son 
mari, qu'elle ait grondd sa pauvre suivante et que peu 'k peu elle ait 
changd d'avis pour finir par dpouser le meurtrier ? " On the con- 
trary, as Ahlstrom points out, there is in the Matron of Ephesus no 
marrying of the murderer of the husband. 

"D'un autre cot^ M. Foerster dit en propres termes qu'il ne 
manque k la copie aucun des vilains traits de I'original. Oil M. 
Foerster trouve t-il done dans le pofeme de Chrdtien le trait le plus 
fameux et le plus affreux du conte : I'attentat de la veuve contre les 
restes de son mari ? ^ . . . II n'existe, en verity, aucune de ces infamies 

1 Ahlstrom brings forward several other traits of the mediaeval Matron of 
Ephesus story which separate it entirely from that of Laudine. I have omitted 
these points because Paris, who entirely agrees as to the vast chasm that separates 
any forms of the two stories, admits that Ahlstrom " n'aurait pas du citer, comme 
les plus connus et les plus essgntiels, des traits qui ne sont ni dans Phidre ni 
dans Petrone et n'appartiennent qu'aux redactions m^didvales contenues dans le 
roman des Sept Sages " {Somania, XXVI, 106). For references to various forms 
of the story, see Keller, Li Romans des Sept Sages, 1836, pp. clixff. ; Grisebach, 
Die Wanderung der Novelle von der treulosen Wittwe durch die Weltlitteratur, 
Berlin, 1886 (2d ed., 1889); Cesari, Come pervenne e rimase in Italia la Matrona 
d'Efeso, Bologna, 1890. 

10 A. C. L. Brown. 

dans le beau roman de Chretien. La dame de la fontaine pleura 
slncferement son ^poux et honore son corps et sa memoire. 

" Mais, dit k la fin M. Foerster, celui qui n'est pas encore con- 
vaincu le sera sans doute par les mots que le pofete lui-meme a mis 
dans la bouche de la veuve : 

V. 1809 C'est cele qui prist 

Celui qui son seignor ocist," 

which the poet repeats in v. 2166. 

" Selon notre opinion, le poete accentue dans ces lignes precisd- 
ment et exclusivement un des points dans lesquels le roman s'eloigne 
le plus du conte, savoir ce fait que la veuve du roman epouse le 
meurtrier de son mari. II est done peut-etre un peu hardi de vouloir 
ainsi prouver la relation intime entre les deux sujets. 

" La ressemblance entre le roman et le conte se borne, en effet, S. 
ce point commun qu'une veuve desolde change de sentiments en peu 
de temps et veut se remarier. Tous les details sont diffdrents. II y 
a pourtant, dans la littdrature comme dans la vie, trop de jeunes 
veuves qui desirent se remarier le plus tot possible, pour que ce fait 
seul puisse prouver I'existence d'un rapport plus intime entre le conte 
et le roman." 

Up to the present time, then, a violent controversy has raged about 
the Matron of Ephesus theory, in which, on the whole, it has been 
rather badly damaged. It will be the purpose of the next chapter 
to examine the question afresh. 



In order to bring out as fairly as possible the fatal difficulties that 
stand in the way of Foerster's hypothesis, it will be necessary to 
quote in full the story to which he refers and to follow it with a 
tolerably complete summary of Chretien's Ivain. 

I wain. 1 1 

The version of the Matron of Ephesus given by Petronius is longer 
than that of Phaedrus ' and more favorable than any other to Foerster's 
hypothesis. It is therefore the one here selected. 


Matrona quaedam Ephesi tarn notae erat pudicitiae, ut vicinarum quoque 
gentium feminas ad spectaculum sui evocaret. Haec ergo cum virum extu- 
lisset, non contenta vulgari more funus passis prosequi crinibus aut nudatum 
pectus in conspectu frequentiae plangere, in conditorium etiam prosecuta 
est defunctum, positumque in hypogaeo Graeco more corpus custodire 
ac flare totis noctibus diebusque coepit. Sic afflictantem se ac mortem 
inedia persequentem non parentes potuerunt abducere, non propinqui ; 
magistratus ultimo repulsi abierunt complorataque singularis exempli 
femina ab omnibus quintum iam diem sine alimento trahebat. Assidebat 
aegrae fidissima ancilla, simulque et lacrimas commodabat lugenti, et 
quotienscunque defecerat positum in monumento lumen renovabat. Una 
igitur in tota civitate fabula erat, solum illud affulsisse varum pudicitiae 
amorisque examplum omnis ordinis homines confitabantur, cum interim 
imparator provinciae latrones iussit crucibus affigi secundum illam casulam, 
in qua receus cadaver matrona deflabat. Proxima ergo nocte, cum miles, 
qui cruces asservabat, ne quis ad sapulturam corpus datraherat, notasset 
sibi [et] lumen inter monumenta clarius fulgens at gamitum lugantis audis- 
set, vitio gentis humanae concupiit scire, quis aut quid facarat. Descendit 
igitur in conditorium, visaque pulcherrima muliera primo quasi quodam 
monstro infarnisqua imaginibus turbatus substitit. Dainda ut et corpus 
iacentis conspexit et lacrimas considaravit faciemqua unguibus sactam, 
ratus scilicet id quod erat, desiderium extincti non posse feminam pati, 
attulit in monumentum cenulam suam coepitque hortari lugentem, ne per- 
severaret in dolore suparvacuo ac nihil profuturo gemitu pectus diduceret : 
omnium eundam esse exitum [sed] et idem domicilium, et cetera quibus 
exulceratae mentas ad sanitatam revocantur. At ilia ignota consolatione 
percussa laceravit vehementius pectus ruptosque crines super corpus iacen- 
tis imposuit. Non recessit tamen miles, sed eadem exhortatione temptavit 

1 For the story in Phaedrus, see Hervieux, Les Fabulistes Latins, II, Phedre et 
ses Anciens Imitateurs, Paris, 1884, pp. 66-67 (2d ed., 1894, pp. 72-73). See also 
p. 269 (2d ed., pp. 340-341). 

2 Petronius, Satirae, Buecheler's 3d ed., Berlin, 1882, chaps, in, 112, pp. 77-78. 

12 A. C. L. Brown. 

dare mulierculae cibum, donee ancilla vini certe ab eo odore corrupta 

primum ipsa porrexit ad humanitatem invitantis victam 

The Lady's Maid manum, deinde refecta potione et cibo expugnare dominae 

'dt"s'part.^" pertinaciam coepit et "quid proderit" inquit "hoc tibi, si 

soluta inedia fueris, si te vivam sepelieris, si antequam fata 
poscant, indemnatum spiritum efiuderis ? 

id cinerem aut manes credis sentire sepultos ? 
vis tu reviviscere ? vis discusso muliebri errore, quam diu licuerit, lucis com- 
modis frui ? ipsum te iacentis corpus admonere debet, ut vivas." Nemo 
invitus audit, cum cogitur aut cibum sumere aut vivere. Itaque mulier 
aliquot dierum abstinentia sicca passa est frangi pertinaciam suam, nee 
minus avide replevit se cibo quam ancilla, quae prior victa est. Ceterum 

scitis, quid plerumque soleat temptare humanam satietatem. 

The newly Be- Quibus blanditiis impetraverat miles, ut matrona vellet vivere, 

raa^es suddrnly' isdem etiam pudicitiam eius aggressus est. Nee defor- 

mis aut infacundus iuvenis eastae videbatur, conciliante 
gratiam ancilla ac subinde dicente : 

" placitone etiam pugnabis amori .' 
Nee venit in mentem, quorum consederis arvis ? " 

Quid diutius moror? Ne hanc quidem partem corporis mulier abstinuit, 
victorque miles utrumque persuasit. lacuerunt ergo una non tantum ilia 
nocte, qua nuptias feeerunt, sed postero etiam ae tertio die, praeclusis 
videlicet eonditorii foribus, ut quisquis ex notis ignotisque ad monumentum 
venisset, putaret expirasse super corpus viri pudicissimam uxorem. Ceterum 
delectatus miles et forma mulieris et secreto, quicquid boni per faeultates 
poterat, coemebat et prima statim nocte in monumentum ferebat. Itaque 
unius cruciarii parentes ut viderunt laxatam custodiam, detraxere nocte . 
pendentem supremoque mandaverunt officio. At miles eireumseriptus dum 
desidet, ut postero die vidit unam sine cadavere crucem, veritus supplicium, 
mulieri quid accidisset exponit : nee se expectaturum iudicis sententiam, 
sed gladio ius dicturum ignaviae suae. Commodaret ergo ilia perituro 
locum et fatale eonditorium familiari ac viro faceret. Mulier non minus 
miserieors quam pudica " ne istud " inquit " dii sinant, ut eodem tempore 
duorum mihi earissimorum hominum duo funera spectem. Malo mortuum 
impendere quam vivum oecidere." Secundum hanc orationem iubet ex 
area corpus mariti sui toUi atque illi, quae vacabat, cruci affigi. Usus est 
miles ingenio prudentissimae feminae, posteroque die populus miratus est, 
qua ratione mortuus isset in crucem. 

Iwain. 1 3 


I. The story opens at Carduel in Wales, where Arthur is holding 
The Tale of <^°"'^t. King Arthur and the queen have withdrawn 
a Previous to their chamber, and Calogrenant has begun a tale 
Adventurer, ^q jj^g assembled knights, of whom Iwain is one. 

The queen enters to hear it also, and he begins again at her request 
(vv. 1-174). 

II. " About seven years ago," says Calogrenant, " I wandered all 
day through the Forest of Broceliande till I came to a strongly 

The Hospitable fortified place. The lord of the forteresse gave me 

^°^'- a splendid welcome, and a fair maid disarmed me and 

entertained me in a meadow till supper. The supper was entirely 

to my taste because of the maid who sat opposite to me. I spent a 

pleasant night in that castle" (vv. 175-269). 

III. " In the morning I set out, and not far off I found fierce 
bulls fighting and a black creature with a head larger than a horse's, 

The Giant armed with a club, guarding them. Finding that 

Herdsman. ^j^jg creature could speak, I asked him to direct me to 

some adventure. He showed me the path to a fountain [the 

Fountain Perilous], telling me also what I might do" (vv. 270-409). 

IV. " I reached the Fountain about noon. By it stood the 
Marvellous most beautiful tree that ever grew on earth. I took 
Landscape. ^ basin of gold that was attached by a chain to the 

tree, and, dipping up some water, I poured it on the rock " 
(vv. 410-438). 

V. "Forthwith there ensued a terrible storm of wind and rain; 
then a calm in which the birds sang sweetly on the tree. After 
The Rain-Making this there appeared a knight on horseback, who attacked 

Fountain. ^jj^j overthrew me. I came home on foot like a fool 
and like a fool have told my story." 

During the talk that follows, Arthur comes out of his chamber, 
hears the story repeated, and declares that he will go with his knights 
within a fortnight, namely just before St. John the Baptist's Day, to 
essay the adventure. Iwain, however, is anxious to try it alone ; so 

^ Summarized from Foerster's Yvain, Romanische Bibliothek, V. 

14 A. C. L. Brown. 

he steals away secretly. He is entertained at night by the Hospitable 
Host; next morning he sees the Giant Herdsman, and he comes at 
last to the Fountain Perilous. He pours water on the rock. The 
storm follows (vv. 439-810). 

VI. After this the armed knight appears and attacks Iwain. 
They fight till Iwain deals the knight a blow that cleaves his helmet 

and wounds him in the brain. The knight flees, pur- 

The Combat. ° '^ 

sued by Iwain, through the streets of a town and up to 
the gate of a palace (vv. 811-906). 

VII. The knight rides under a sharp iron gate, which is arranged 
to drop like the fall of a rat trap if one touches the spring. Iwain 

The Falling follows hard after, and his horse accidentally touches 
Gates. the spring. The gate falls close behind Iwain and 

with its knife edge cuts his horse in two, cutting off the hinder part 
of the saddle and also the rider's spurs. Another gate at the 
same time descends in front, and Iwain is imprisoned in a sale 
(vv. 907-969). 

VIII. But a damsel, called Lunete, issues from a narrow door and 
recognizes him as Iwain, son of King Urien. She was once sent on 

Protection ^ message by her lady to King Arthur's court, and, 

by the perhaps because she was not so courteous as a damsel 

Lady's Confidante, ^^^j^^ ^^ ^^^ ^^ Vra^x deigned to speak to her except 

Iwain. He honored and served her, and she is glad to recompense 
him now (vv. 970-1019). 

IX. She gives Iwain a magic ring that, when the stone set in it is 
Invisible-Render- cnclosed in the hand, makes its wearer invisible, and 

ingRing. ghe brings him food to eat (vv. 1020-1054). 

X. Presently men come with clubs and swords, seeking him who 
slew their lord, Esclados le Ros. They do not find Iwain, for the 

It was the Lady's ""& renders him invisible. Lunete's mistress, whose 

Husband that the name is Laudine, a most beautiful lady, now enters, 

Hero has killed, .^ggping fg^ her lord, who is carried on a bier 

XI. When the corpse is brought into the hall where Iwain is. 
The Corpse bleeds it begins to bleed. The men feel confident that the 

before the Slayer, murderer must be hidden there, and they renew their 
search (vv. 1 173-1242). 



XII. When Iwain sees Laudine, he is smitten with violent love 
for her. He even watches the funeral, so as to catch a better glimpse 
of her. He refuses to go when Lunete offers to help him to escape. 

Effects of the Lunete persuades her lady that she ought to feel no 
Lady's Beauty, hatred against the knight who slew her husband. She 
reminds her that the Dameisele Sauvage has sent word that King 
Arthur is coming within a week to essay the Fountain. Laudine 
feels that a knight is needed to defend it. Lunete tells her that the 
knight who slew her husband would undertake to do it. When 
Laudine learns that his name is Iwain she consents (vv. 1243-1942). 

XIII. Iwain is terrified when ushered into Laudine's presence 
and says that anything she may lay upon him, even death, he will 

Marriage with take without ill wiU. She receives him kindly when 
the Lady. jje promiscs to defend the Fountain. Iwain and the 
lady are speedily married, and there is great joy (vv. 1943-2 169). 

XIV. The wedding feast lasts till King Arthur comes to essay the 
adventure of the Fountain. Kay is assigned to the adventure. The 

Arrival of king pours water on the rock, and presently Iwain 

King Arthur, appears mounted on a powerful horse and overthrows 

Kay. Iwain then reveals himself to Arthur and escorts him and 

his knights to the castle, where they are entertained for a week 

(vv. 2170-2475). 

XV. When Arthur departs, Iwain is persuaded to accompany him. 
Laudine does not give Iwain permission to go till he has promised 

Departure of to rctum within a year. If he does not come back 
iwam. ijy. ^-jjat time, "her love will turn to hate." She gives 
Twain a ring that will protect him from imprisonment and be his 
shield and hauberk (vv. 2476-2638). 

XVI. A year has passed, and Iwain is busy in tournaments. 
Suddenly he recollects that he has overstayed his time. The same 

Broken Promise iustant a damsel rides up and calls him a hypocrite, 
and Madness, ^^^j ^ jjjief who has stolcn her lady's heart and for- 
gotten his promise to return. She demands back the ring. When 
Iwain does not reply, she snatches the ring from his finger and 
departs. Iwain goes mad and runs into the forest, where he lives 
like a beast. A hermit supplies him with musty bread (vv. 2639- 

i6 A. C. L. Brown. 

XVII. At length one day a lady, accompanied by two damsels, 
finds a naked man asleep in the forest. One of the damsels recog- 

Curebya nizes Iwain by a scar on his cheek. At her request 

Magic Remedy, (.jjg j^jjy. ^q^^ the damsel to bring a box of ointment, 

a gift from Morgue the Wise,' by means of which Iwain is cured of 

his madness. In return Iwain frees the lady from the oppression of 

a powerful enemy. Count Alier (vv. 2885-3340). 

XVIII. As Iwain is riding through a deep forest, he finds a 
serpent and a lion fighting. He succors the lion and slays the 
serpent. The lion kneels down before Iwain and indicates by his 

The Thankful tears that he thanks him. After this the lion accom- 
^'™- panies Iwain everywhere. Iwain comes to the Foun- 
tain Perilous and finds Lunete shut up in the little chapel near by. 
She tells Iwain a wicked seneschal has accused her of treason in 
persuading Laudine to marry Iwain. She is to be burned to-mor- 
row unless a knight can be found who will fight the seneschal and 
two others, in order to prove her innocence. Iwain promises to 
undertake the combat but is obliged to go some distance before he 
finds lodgings for the night at a castle (vv. 3341-38 16). 

XIX. This castle is beset by a giant, Harpin of the Mountain, 
who will kill the lord's sons or carry off the daughter of the house 

Conflicting in the morning unless a champion can be found to 
Appointments, ggjjj jji^_ j^^j^^ promlsBs to fight the giant if the 
latter appears early in the morning; otherwise he shall be obliged 
to go to keep his promise and save Lunete (vv. 3817-4087). 

XX. In the morning Iwain waits till prime for the giant to appear. 
Combat with and, Es he does not come, is distracted in his mind 
Giant Harpin. .^^hether to go or stay. At last Harpin comes and 

Iwain subdues him, aided in the struggle by his faithful lion 
(vv. 4088-4312). 

XXI. Iwain rides hurriedly to the Fountain Perilous, and arrives 
The Rescue of a ^" ^™^ ^^ rescue Lunete by fighting at once the wicked 

Damsel by a scncschal and two others. The lion again helps 
Iwain. Laudine does not know who Iwain is. He 
calls himself the Knight of the Lion (vv. 4313-4702). 

1 That is, Morgain la fee. 

Twain. 17 

XXII. Iwain is met by a messenger from the younger daughter 
of the lord of La Noire Espine. The lord is dead, and the elder 

Daughters of the daughter has usurped all the land and secured Gawain 

Black Thorn, ^q defend her claim. Iwain, who does not know that 

his opponent will be Gawain, agrees to fight for the younger daughter. 

He does not reveal his own name but is called the Knight of the 

Lion (vv. 4703-5106). 

XXIII. Iwain and the messenger come to a place called the 
Castle of 111 Adventure and are advised not to enter. They do 
enter, however, and find three hundred girls behind a row of stakes. 

The Castle of These girls are pale and thin and obliged to toil at 
111 Adventure, y^orking silk with thread of gold. It is explained that 
many years ago the King of the Isle of Maidens went like a fool in 
search of adventure. He fell into the power of two " fiz de deable " 
who own this castle. Being not yet eighteen years old, he ransomed 
himself as best he could by swearing to send each year thirty 
maidens as tribute till the monsters should be vanquished. Iwain is 
well entertained for the night by the lord and lady of the castle, but 
in the morning he is obliged to fight the monsters. He overcomes 
them, with the aid of his lion, and frees the maidens (vv. 5107-5811). 

XXIV. Iwain arrives at Arthur's court clad in armor and known 
as the Knight of the Lion. Gawain, too, is disguised by his armor, 

Combat of and the two friends fight a terrible battle. When 
Fratres jurati. jjight comcs on, they grow tired, and reveal them- 
selves to each other. There is great joy, and people are surprised to 
see how evenly they are matched (vv. 5812-6526). 

XXV. Iwain soon returns to the Fountain Perilous and stirs up 
.,. . such a storm that the castle is almost destroyed. 

ReconcUiation ^ ^ "* 

between the Hero Lunctc is Sent to find out who is at the Fountain, and 
and the Heroine, -^^ j^^j. niejjiatjon Iwain is reconciled to Laudine. Now 
Iwain has peace and through joy the past is forgotten (vv. 6527- 

Every reader who compares the Ivain with the Matron of Ephesus 
will at once observe that they belong to two entirely different kinds 
of writing. Chretien's Ivain is romantic in the highest degree. It 
is far removed even from realistic literature, and much more from 
that class of disillusioned, cynical stories to which the Matron of 

1 8 A. C. L. Brown. 

Ephesus so evidently belongs.^ The strongest proofs in the world 
would barely suffice to make one believe that Chretien drew the 
theme of his curiously high-spirited, un-matter-of-fact romance from 
a cheap satire on women. 

But what are the proofs ? Merely similarities of incident. His- 
torical evidence is of course unobtainable. Now there are but two 
incidents in the two stories that are similar. The first is, that in 
both there is a lady's maid who takes the hero's part. Surely not 
much can be based on this. Every lady has a maid, and from time 
immemorial approach to a lady has been by means of her maid. 
The other incident, upon which so much stress has been laid, is, not 
that in both stories the widow marries the slayer of her husband, — 
a parallel that might have some significance, — but simply that in 
both stories a newly bereaved widow marries again suddenly. As 
Ahlstrom has well said, it is not necessary to go to the Matron of 
Ephesus for this. The incident is not unknown in real life. One 
should also remember that in the Middle Ages every vifidow left in 
possession of a fief was practically forced to marry again to protect 
her possessions. Such a marriage might foUov/ the death of the 
widow's husband almost immediately if there was danger of invasion 
or attack. 

Some one may remind me that it has been urged also that a simi- 
larity lies in the heartlessness of the lady's treatment of her husband 
in both stories. This is the weakest point of all. Laudine is not 
described by Chrdtien as heartless. So far as can be made out, he 
represents her as respecting her husband's memory to the last. 

Furthermore, stretch the Matron of Ephesus theory to its greatest 
conceivable limits, it still will not account for more than five or six 
hundred lines out of the almost seven thousand of the Ivain. The 
remainder of the romance would have to be explained as a mere 
compilation from various disconnected sources. Even, therefore, if 

1 The cynical side of the Matron of Ephesus is brought out in a still more 
repellent way in the mediaeval versions of the tale, which Chretien would naturally 
have known. In them the widow with her own hands mutilates the body of her 
husband to make it resemble the stolen corpse, which had lost its ears and some 

Twain. jq 

there were no other theory in the field, it would seem as if the 
hypothesis which derives the plot from the Matron of Ephesus 
would have to be rejected. It has, so far as I can see, not a le^ 
to stand on. • ' s 



The view which would explain the Ivain as in origin a Celtic story 
of a "fairy mistress " was first distinctly set forth by Alfred Nutt in 
1887.' " The Lady of the Fountain seems to me to be an expansion 
of a Goldenlocks story. The hero leaves his wife (breaking a taboo 
thereby), is forsaken of her, becomes rough and hairy, rescues her 
from three successive dangers, is recognized by and reunited to her. 
It is to be noted that the hero is accompanied by a helping, animal. 
The opening incident of this story may be compared to Joyce's Pur- 
suit of the Gilla Backer [i.e. the story of Diarmat].^ ... In both 
stories the heroes drink of the fountain, the lord of the fountain 
appears, and a fight ensues in which the hero proves victor." 

This view was expressed by Paris in his usual felicitous way in the 
passage already quoted^ from Romania, 1888. It is also the view of 
Muret, set forth in 1890 in the article from which a quotation has 

1 The Celtic Magazine, XII, 555. Osterwald, Iwein, ein keltischer FriihUngsgott, 
1853, pointed out that Laudine is an other-world person, and that this is the clue 
to her sudden marriage to the slayer of her husband. His article, however, is 
overlaid with vague mythologizing. The remark of Alexander Macbain in 1884 
should also be noted : " Visits of the nature of that undertaken by Ulysses, in 
Homer, to the Land of the Shades, were made by at least three champions of the 

Gael, . . . Cuchulainn, Cormac and Diarmat We find a double account of 

Diarmat's visit to Tir-fa-tonn, one Irish, one Gaelic. The Irish one is in its main 
features the counterpart of the Welsh Mabinogion, ' The Lady of the Fountain ' " 
(Celtic Magazine, IX, 278). 

^ Rhjs (Lectures on Celtic Heathendom, London, 1888, pp. 187 if.) has made 
this same comparison, and so has Ferdinand Lot (Romania, XXI, 67-71). 

8 Pp. 5-6, above. 

20 A. C. L. Brown. 

already been made.^ He thinks that it is clear to any unprejudiced 
person that the principal donnie of the Chevalier au Lion is one of 
those stories of a mortal loved by z.fie so common in popular tradi- 
tion. He points to the existence of analogous situations in many of 
those lais bretons of which nobody disputes the Celtic origin, and 
concludes : " A des yeux non prdvenus, les circonstances singuliferes 
du mariage d'lvain avec la Dame de la Fontaine n'ont que le plus 
vague et le plus lointain rapport avec I'anecdote de la Matrone 
d'fiphfese." Muret thinks that Chretien's original was probably 
some prose recital he had heard, though he admits that a few 
" aventures banales " may be of the poet's own introduction. 

Ahlstrom, who expresses himself at some length in the article 
already referred to," agrees that the original of the Ivain story is the 
well-known account of the union of a mortal to a supernatural being, 
whether, as in Cupid and Psyche, the hero is supernatural, or as in 
Graelent, Lanval, Guingamor, Guigemar, Dhirk, Partenopeus de Blois, 
Floriant et Florete, Bel Inconnu, La ChAielaine de Vergi, Perceval 
(several times), Erec, Lancelot, and Ogier le Datiois, it is the heroine 
who is i^fke. In one or two of these stories, as Ahlstrom thinks, the 
fte was originally a swan-maiden caught by stealing the swan-raiment 
which she had temporarily laid aside while bathing in a fountain. 
It is certainly true that in Graelent and Guingamor swan-maiden 
features have been mixed up with the story, for in both the hero 
obtains the love of the lady, surprised while bathing in a fountain, 
by possessing himself of her clothes. In neither case, however, has 
this confusion destroyed her real character as a fie princess. In 
neither case, as Schofield has clearly pointed out,' is the heroine 
like the maiden in Dolopathos (which he shows to be a genuine swan- 
maiden story) "a weak, defenceless captive." She is "a queenly 
princess. She does not humbly accept a marriage forced upon her, 
but comes from a distant land solely to carry back the hero whom 

1 Revue Critique, XXIX, 67. 

''■ Milanges Wahlund, 1896, pp. 294-303. 

' See his important articles, The Lay of Guingamor, in Harvard Studies and 
Notes, V, 236 ff., and The Lays of Graelent and Lanval, in Publ. of the Mod. Lang. 
Association of America, XV, J45. 

Twain. 2 1 

she loves, — not in the future to be a wife patiently enduring all 
sorts of indignities, but a proud supernatural mistress whose com- 
mands when not followed to the letter bring sorrow to him whose 
life even is in her hands." ' In both cases she speaks her mind with 
dignity and is not really surprised, while a swan-maiden is always 
taken unawares. Dr. Schofield's view that these heroines are true 
fies to whom the authors, confused by the resemblances of their 
stories to tales like that in the Dolopathos, have ascribed certain 
swan-maiden features, is altogether the most reasonable. Ahlstrom, 
however, holds the opposite opinion, that the swan character of the 
lady was original and has been modified by stories of fkes. He also 
maintains that Desirk, where it is the lady's maid that is caught at 
the fountain, and Lanval, where two maids are met while carrying 
water to their mistress, are in origin swan-maiden stories which have 
lost most of their primitive character. Not content with this, he 
goes on to draw the unwarranted inference that Ivain is another 
such swan-maiden story. He admits that no trace of this supposed 
origin can be found except the name " Lady of the Fountain," but 
this single hint is enough, he thinks, to enable him to reconstruct 
the whole. 

The weakness of Ahlstrom's argument becomes apparent when 
one reflects that it would prove practically all fairy mistresses to be 
swan-maidens. They are nearly all first seen near a spring or river 
or lake or by the seaside. Especially is this the case in Celtic 
fairy stories, because of the belief, strongly held by the Celts, that 
the approach to fairyland lay across the sea or beneath the waves. 
There are plenty of ways in which a fairy might come to be called a 
lady of the fountain without her having been in origin a swan-maiden 
at all. Nor is this swan-maiden feature at all necessary to the rest 
of Ahlstrom's explanation. 

Ahlstrom's confusion oi fies with swan-maidens leads him to explain 
that Laudine's sudden remarriage is due to her /airy nature,^ which 
(he seems to think) places her at the disposal of the conqueror of 
the Fountain. Any one who studies the Celtic //^, however, will see 

1 Schofield, I.e., p. 236. 

" See Milanges- Waklund, pp. 296-297. 

22 A. C. L. Brown. 

that she was originally bound by no restrictions and at nobody's dis- 
posal. (The sudden remarriage is really due to the fact that the 
slain warrior was originally a supernatural being in the service of 
the fke, and not her husband at all.) Ahlstrom, with some prob- 
ability, explains the ring given to Iwain as originally the ring that 
brought the fairy mistress at any time and place, while she remained 
invisible to every one but the hero. It is easy to see how this might 
get changed to a ring that renders its wearer invisible. Its being 
taken away when Ivain is unfaithful is paralleled in DksirL It would 
be absurd, therefore, to regard it as an adaptation of the ring of 

Ahlstrom's most interesting suggestion is that the Joy of the Court 
episode in Erec is really a defective version of the fairy mistress 
story. As Erec was written before Ivain, it becomes clear that a 
fairy mistress story in which the knight was obliged to do battle 
with all who approached his lady existed before Ivain was written. 
Chretien's original, then, must have been a story of some length, 
comprising at least three of the chief incidents of the poem : the 
fight at the fountain, the remarriage, and the thankful lion.^ This 
story, he believes, came from Brittany, where it had been localized. 
" C'est done, si Ton veut, un sujet breton ; mais on ne peut dire qu'il 
soit nd dans ce pays ni que le pofete I'ait directement empruntd des 
Bretons" (p. 303). 

In 1897 Baist,' in a short but important note, discussed the whole 
question of the sources of Ivain. With regard to Ahlstrom's swan- 
maiden explanation he says : " Ich bin von jeher der Meinung gewe- 
sen, dass in Laudine sich eine Wasserfrau verberge." He naturally, 
however, fails to see that she can be made such a water-nymph, simply 
because she happens to be 2. fke. Baist divides the romance of Ivain 

1 Ahlstrom believes also that he has found a parallel to the madness of Ivain 
iriLanval, v. 416: "Mult dotouent qu'il s'afolast"; but Paris and Tobler more 
properly translate this by "do injury to himself" (Romania, XXVI, 107; Zt. f. 
rom. Phil., X, 168). 

2 Ahlstrom regards the episode of the thankful lion as an invention to explain 
the title " Chevalier au Lion," which he, without good reason, thinks came in the 
first place from the name of a country, Lhnnois (pp. 299-300). 

^ Zt. f. rom. Phil., XXI, 402-405. 

Iwain. 23 

into two parts. The second part, beginning immediately after the 
hero loses Laudine, he believes to be Chretien's own invention or 
compilation. The madness of Ivain is, he thinks, borrowed from 
that of Tristan. (But surely this muSt have been a part of the 
original fairy mistress story, of which it is a well-recognized feature.) 
The introduction of the thankful lion he with much reason ascribes 
to Chretien. He points out that the interest centres in this brilliant 
piece of decoration up to the time of the combat of Iwain and 
Gawain. None of the adventures related in this second part could 
belong, he thinks, to an original Journey of Wonders that led the 
hero back to his fairy mistress, except that of the Castle of the Black 
Thorn, and that shows no evidence of having belonged to such a 
tale. The Maiden Castle comes from some Mdrchen. The recon- 
ciliation at the end is, according to Baist, entirely the invention of 
Chretien, because it is only a variant of the way in which the lady 
was at first persuaded by Lunete to receive the hero. (Yet Baist 
could hardly deny that a happy ending, though not perhaps a feature 
of the most primitive form of the theme, might easily have become 
attached to it long before it reached Chretien.) 

The first part of the romance Baist ascribes to " ein genau lokali- 
siertes bretonisches Marchen." He finds in it, to be sure, a verbal 
borrowing from Wace : 

Einsi alai, einsi raving, 

Au revenir per fol me ting. 

Si YDS ai cont^ come fos 

Ce qu'onques mes center ne vos. — Yvain (vv. 577 ff.). 

Fol m'en reuinc, fol i alai, 
Fol i alai, fol m'en reuinc, 
Folie quis, por fol me tine. — Roman de Rou (vv. 6418 ff.). 

This parallel might at first make one think that Chre'tien developed 
his story of the Fountain out of the hint given in the Romati de Rou, 
but Baist shows that this cannot be, for the Giant Herdsman who 
points out the way is plainly "eine marchenhafte Gestalt" whose 
invention is not to be ascribed to Chretien. There remains, how- 
ever, the possibility that Chre'tien transferred a story about some 
Magic Fountain to the particular Fountain of Barenton of which he 

24 A. C. L. Brown. 

learned from the poem of Wace.^ That this part of the Ivain is 
based on a popular tale is proved, Baist thinks, by the repeated 
pointing out of the way, both at the Hospitable Castle and by the 
Giant Herdsman, by the contrasting of a first adventurer who fails 
with a second who succeeds, and by the repetition in both cases of 
the various particulars, all of which is "ganz genau im Marchenstil." 
One may guess, says Baist, that originally the Hospitable Castle and 
the Giant Herdsman "stood in more intimate relations with the 
adventure than Chretien has cared to preserve." The change which 
Chretien has made from the stags and hawks mentioned by Wace ^ 
to a herd of wild cattle, Baist believes to be significant, for mar- 
vellous herdsmen are common in insular Celtic stories. They are 
generally giant swineherds, but in the Voyage of Maelduin^ there is a 
gigantic cattle driver who points out the way. The figure, Baist 
thinks, is surely traditional. Finally, Baist declares that to the 
Welsh it was a matter of course that the Fairy of the Fountain 
belonged to the Winner of the Fountain. The French did not 
understand this, and so Chretien introduced out of his own head 
the long psychological discussion by which Laudine is persuaded to 
marry the conqueror. To the Welsh the lady was a mere prize.^ 

1 It seems more probable that the Other-World fountain had been already 
localized at Barenton before the time of Chretien and Wace. 

2 Roman de Rou, 6409 ff. (ed. H. Andresen, II, 284) : 

La [Barenton] seut I'en les fees ueeir, 

Se 11 Breton nos dient ueir, 

E altres merueilles plusors ; 

Aires i selt aueir d'osiors 

E de gram cers mult grant flente ; 

Mais vilain ont tot deserte. 

La alai io merueilles querre, 

Vi la forest e ui la terre, 

Merueilles quis, mais nes trouai. 
Then follow the three lines just quoted (p. 23). 

' D'Arbois de Jubainville, Cours de Litt. Celtique, V, 472. 

4 Baist compares Kulhwch and Olwen (J. Loth, Les Mabinogion, I, 188-189), 
in which Kilydd asks where he shall find a wife : " ' I know one who will please 
you,' said one of his counsellors, ' that is the wife of King Doget,' and they resolved 
to fetch her, slew the king and carried away the lady." In the next sentence she 
is the wife of KUydd. That she has become so the narrative does not think it 

Iwain. 2 5 

A brief but powerful statement of the view whose development 
has just been sketched, and one that may be appropriately quoted in 
conclusion, was published by Kittredge in 1898.^ "The Cligis, we 
may remark in passing, formed no original part of 'the matter of 
Britain ' ; its Arthurian relations are due entirely to Chretien. On 
this point there is no controversy. If now the ' Cliges ' be compared 
with those works of the same author which are commonly thought to 
be referable to Celtic sources, the essential difference will be found 
striking, and in our opinion, significant.^ ... In the Knight of the 
Lion we have an admirable specimen of what one means by a 
' romance of the Round Table.' . . . The lady is of course a fie, 
whose fate it is to marry whoever can overcome the (eldritch) knight 
who guards the well in the forest. But her husband can retain her 
favor only on terms of obedience and fidelity. Just as actual unfaith- 
fulness to a fairy wife or fairy mistress always brings disaster and 
sometimes death, so, in this softened and rationalized form of the 
tale, the forgetfulness of Iwain and his failure to keep his day come 
near costing him the love of his lady. Her implacability is originally 
an essential trait of her fairy nature, though Chretien himself may 
not have understood it in this way or have been aware that she was a 
fee at all, any more than Shakspere fully understood the mythological 
antecedents of the Scandinavian Norns whom he found in Holins- 
hed's account of Macbeth." 

Every one, it will be observed, who has advocated what may be 
called the fairy mistress explanation of the romance of Ivain, has 
looked for a source in Celtic tradition. This is evidently the natural 
view. Chretien practically tells us that he is following a conte, which 
he evidently expects us to regard as based on Celtic tradition ; nearly 

necessary to mention. This parallel is of course interesting, but the real point is 
not the brutality of Welsh customs, but the fact that Laudine was a fairy, and not 
originally the wife of Esclados at all. 

1 In a book review in the New York Nation, Feb. 24, 1898, LXVI, 150-151. 

2 Important evidence for the theory of a different origin of the Ivain from that 
of the Cligis is here brought forward. No one can pass directly from the former 
to the latter without being struck by the absence of those peculiarly Celtic features 
of fairy, wild man, and magic forest which give a distinctive flavor to the Chevalier 
au Lion. 

26 A. C. L. Brown. 

all the names of the dramatis personae are Celtic ; and the scene is 
laid in Wales or Armorica. There is, moreover, a special reason 
why this antecedent probability that the story of Ivain comes from 
Celtic sources is very great. The Celtic fkes are distinctly superior 
beings, never surprised and taken captive by the hero, as the Germanic 
fairies regularly are, but dwelling like Laudine in a magic land, 
which must be visited by the hero, who thus puts himself in their 
power before his courtship even begins. They retain their superiority, 
and, like Iwain's mistress, insist on being obeyed even in the verbal 
details of a promise or else they punish and forsake their lover, who 
is always thought of as in their power.^ Evidently it is from creatures ■ 
like these, as distinguished from Germanic and other fairies, thai: 
such a character as Laudine must be derived. 

1 The important suggestion that the typical heroine of the French Arthuriar 
romances of the twelfth century, who is thought of as far above her lover or hei 
husband, was derived essentially from the ancient Celtic//? is due to Alfred Nuf 
{Studies on the Legend of the Holy Grail, pp. 232 ff.). Nutt points out that ir 
Teutonic fairy stories the man plays the chief part, sometimes even forcing the 
fairy maiden to become his mistress. It is otherwise with the Celts; "Connls 
and Bran and Oisin must all leave this earth and sail across ocean or lake before 
they can rejoin their lady love ; even Cuchullain, mightiest of all the heroes, is 
constrained, struggle as he may, to go and dwell with the fairy queen Fand, who has 
wooed him. Throughout, the immortal mistress retains her superiority. . . . This 
type of womanhood, capricious, independent, severed from ordinary domestic life , 
is assuredly the original of the Viviens, the Orgueilleuses, the Ladies of the 
Fountain of the romances ; it is also one which must have commended itself to 
knightly devotees of mediaeval romantic love. Their ^ dame d'amour' -was as a. 
rule another man's wife; she raised in their minds no thought of home or child. 
In the tone of their feelings towards her . . . they were closer akin to Oisin and 
Neave, to Cuchullain and Fand, than to Siegfried and Brunhild, or to Roland 
and Aude." In a more recent publication ( Voyage of Bran, I, 1 56, note) Nutt 
has also said : " There is no parallel to the position or the sentiments of a 
Celtic heroine like Fand in the post-classic literature of Western Europe before 
Guinevere.'' (He might have said, before Laudine.) 

I wain. 27 



I. The Type. 

To reach any just conclusion with respect to the question of the 
dependence of Chretien's Ivain on Cehic Other-World stories, it is 
indispensable to secure as clear a conception as possible of what a 
typical Celtic fairy mistress story really was. It is extremely impor- 
tant, therefore, to have before us, at least in outline, all significant 
tales of this character which are unmistakably attested, on manu- 
script or other evidence, as belonging to a period more ancient than 
that of Chretien. 

In the case of Irish materials the evidence is of the most satis- 
factory sort imaginable. All of the Irish stories that will be quoted 
or summarized in the text of this chapter are preserved, at least in 
part, in one of two ancient manuscripts, the Lebor na h-Uidre and the 
Book of Leinster, which were written before the period of the rise of 
French Arthurian romance. The Lebor na h-Uidre (LU) was com- 
piled and transcribed about the year 11 00 by Moelmuiri mac Ceilea- 
chair, who died in 1106.'- The Book of Leinster (LL) is as old as 
the year 1150.^ These two manuscripts have preserved a mass of 
Irish Other-World lore of greater proved antiquity and of a more 
distinctive character than the fairy tales of any other Western people. 

In Welsh, as in most other modern languages, there exist no 
manuscripts of so ancient date containing fairy tales. In view of 
this fact, the method adopted in this chapter is to develop the idea 
of the typical Celtic fairy mistress story on the basis of Irish material, 
using the two or three Welsh tales whose ancient character is perhaps 
most universally admitted,^only as illustrative of incidents the presence 

1 Zimmer, Kuhn's Zt., XXVIII, 417 (1887). Cf. Henderson, Fled Bricrend, 
pp. xxiv ft. 

2 Windisch, Irische Texte, I, 60. 

8 The Welsh tales used are ; Pwyll Prince of Dyvet (from the Red Book of 
Hergesi) and The Victims of Annwn. The Red Book is a fourteenth-century MS., 

28 A. C. L. Brown. 

of which in Celtic story before the time of Chretien has been estab- 
lished by the Irish narratives. Thus the validity of the method can- 
not be impugned on the score of dates. It can only be attacked, 
therefore, by questioning the closeness of the resemblances between 
the Ivain and Irish story, — a matter which is perfectly open and 
definite, so that every reader may decide for himself. 

It ought, moreover, to be observed that there is a priori no reason 
to insist that, if the Celtic origin of the Iwain story be admitted, the 
resemblances between it and Irish tales must necessarily be very 
marked. The Brythonic stories were probably only parallel to the 
Goidelic, not identical with them, and it is only through the lost 
Brythonic stories that Celtic influences could have reached Chretien. 
Irish tales are therefore two removes from Chretien. The fact, then, 
that we do find marked resemblances between them and the Ivain 
must under the circumstances be regarded as doubly significant. 

Apparently the most primitive in form of Celtic fairy mistress 
stories is that describing the adventures of Connla the Fair, which 
is proved by considerations of language to have been originally 
written down as early as the ninth century. The manuscript in 
which the tale is preserved is the Lebor na h-Uidre. 


Why is he called Art All-alone ? Not hard ! One day Connla, son of 
Conn of the Hundred Battles, was at his father's side when he saw a woman 

but mistakes in spelling and the actual existence of some fragments in a thirteenth- 
century MS. show that the scribe was copying an older text. Loth (Les Mabino- 
gion, I, 1 8) thinks the tales of the Red Book were written down toward the end 
of the twelfth century. Pwyll Prince of Dyvet, however, is one of the four genu- 
ine Mabinogion concerning which Loth says (p. 9) : " EUes appartiennent au cycle 
gallois le plus ancien et sont sans doute un reste du patrimoine commun aux 
Gaels et aux Bretons." Elsewhere (p. 20) he says : " Elles plongent dans le plus 
lointain pass^ de I'histoire des Celtes." The Victims of Annwn is put by Stephens- 
(Lit of the Kymry, 2d ed., p. 273) in the twelfth or thirteenth century, but it 
shows no signs of the influence of French romance. It is preserved in a 
manuscript dating from the early part of the fourteenth century. 

1 Summarized from the Irish text as printed by Windisch, Kurzgefasste Irische 
Grammatik, pp. 118-120. For a French translation, see d'Arbois de Jubainville^ 

I wain. 


in wonderful garments coming to him. She invited him to the Fields of 
the Living, to enjoy "perpetual feasts without preparation, where king 
Boadag is an everlasting king without complaint and without grief in his 
land since he took the kingdom." The land is one of peace, and the 
people are the peaceful people.^ The woman declared that she was young, 
beautiful, of noble race, not subject to age or decay. She loved Connla 
and had come to invite him to Mag Mell. She was invisible to every one 
but Connla, so that at first Conn wondered to whom his son was speaking. 
When he grasped the situation, he had his druid called to drive away the 
fairy by the use of spells. 

Before the woman departed she gave Connla an apple. On this apple 
he lived for a month, for it was not diminished, however much he ate of 
it, but continued entirely untouched. No other food seemed to him worthy 
to be eaten except his apple. He was, moreover, seized with longing for 
the woman that he had seen. 

At the end of a month the woman appeared again to Connla. She spoke 
to him of the delights of her land, where death was unknown, and invited 
him to enter her boat : 

We must embark in my ship of glass 

If we are to reach Sid Boadaig. 

There is another land, — 

It were not worse for thee to visit it. 

I see the bright sun is setting. 

However far it is, we shall arrive before night. 

It is a land where is joy 

Passing the thought of everyone who visits it (?). 

There is no one dwelling there 

Except women and maidens. 

Unable to resist his longing for the woman, Connla made a spring into 
her ship of glass, which thereupon withdrew gradually across the sea. He 
has not been seen since that time, nor is it known whither he went. 

Art, thus deserted by his brother Connla, returned alone to the assembly. 

VMpopie Celtique, I, 385-390, and F. Lot, Romania, XXVII, 559 ft. For one in 
German, see Zimmer, Zt.f. Alt, XXXIII, 262 ff. See Nutt, Voyage of 
Bran, I, 144 ff. 

1 " &% sfde." This may mean rather " Her land is the land of the Sid [fairy 
hill] and her people the people of the Sid." Probably the words in the text are 
an attempt to etymologize as side. 

30 A. C. L. Brown. 

When his father saw him approaching thus unaccompanied, he exclaimed : 
" Art is All-alone to-day ; probably so is not his brother." So from this 
time the name "All-alone" {penfer^ clung to Art. 

Like most Irish fairy tales, this story evidently owes its preserva- 
tion, not to its intrinsic charm, which surely for a modern reader is 
very great, but to the purely accidental fact that it has been at some 
time altered to explain, in a popular way, the name of one of Conn's 
sons. Art Oenfer. Fortunately the alterations in this case appear to 
have been very slight, — a mere tag at the beginning and the end, so 
that there is reason to hold that we have here a Celtic folk tale in 
practically its primitive form.^ The story well illustrates the exalted 
character of the primitive Celtic fee. She is really a queen of the 
Other World. She wooes the mortal hero with an almost haughty con- 
descension. There is no thought of his capturing or outwitting her, as 
is regularly the case in Germanic fairy tales. She seeks out the hero 
and lures him away to her own land, from which he never returns. 

The story is really an Other- World Journey. The fke lives across 
the sea, so that we have a hint of what is technically known as the 
imram.'^ The landscape of the Other World is not described. We 
learn, however, that it is a land of perpetual youth, where, without 
the intervention of a throng of servants, a never-ending feast is 
always ready. It is a land inhabited by women only. It possesses 
magic food that fails not, and is reached in a magic boat that accom- 
plishes any distance before night. The fee herself has the power of 
being invisible to every one except him whom she seeks. All these 
traits reappear continually in later tales. Their occurrence in this 
very ancient story is evidence of the substantial continuity of Irish 

^ Probably the number of tales of this sort current in Ireland from pagan 
times on was very considerable, as indeed it continues to be. down to the present 
day. Only a few of these, either because they were connected with some his- 
torical personage, or because they were made to explain some proper name, had 
the good fortune to be written down and preserved in MS. 

"■ I distinguish between the genuine imram, a literary product, where stress is 
laid on the incidents of a voyage by sea and on the different islands visited, and 
the simple Other-World Journey, where, as here, though a voyage is mentioned, 
no importance is attached to it. • 

I wain. 


Another very ancient tale, which has, however, suffered complete 
Temodelling by euhemeristic hands, is that called The Debility of 
the Ultonian Warriors. This is one of the remsdla (" introductory 
tales") brought into close connection with the famous Tain Bb 
CHailgne. An original fairy mistress story has been altered to explain 
in a popular manner the extraordinary debility that befell the Ultonian 
warriors in the Tain Bb at the moment when they were attacked by 
the forces of Medb.^ 


Whence comes the Debility of the Ultonians ? Not hard ! Crunniuc, 
son of Agnoman, was a wealthy farmer. One day, as he was alone in his 
house, a woman of stately appearance entered. She seated herself and 
began to prepare food as if she had been in the house before. [She 
passed a whole day there without exchanging a word with any one.]^ 
When it was night, she gave directions to the servants without a question. 
She slept beside Crunniuc that night and remained with him for a long 

One day there was an assembly held by the Ultonians to which they 
were accustomed to go, both men and women, sons and daughters. Crun- 
niuc made ready to go with the others. [" Go not, said his wife, lest you 
run into danger by speaking of us ; for our union will continue only if you 
do not speak of me in the assembly." ■*] " That shall not be," said he. 

1 This debility, which lasted for five nights and four days, whence the name 
Noinden, was perhaps really a sort of couvade: see Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 140, 
363, and, for references on this strange custom, Suchier, Aucassin und AHcolete, 
4th ed., pp. 54-55; Tylor, Researches into the Early History of Mankind, pp. 289- 
297. Miss Hull, however, suggests that it originated rather in a sort of tabu 
(Cuchullin Saga, p. 293). 

2 Summarized from the Irish text in the Book of Leinster as printed by Win- 
disch, Berichte der Gesellschaft der Wissenschaften zu Leipzig, Phil.-hist. Classe, 
XXXVI, 336 fE. (1884). The story is found also in the later MSB. Harleian ^280 
(about 1560), The Book of Fermoy (fifteenth century), The Yellow Book of Lecan 
(fourteenth century). The Harleian text with a translation was printed by Windisch 
(I.e.). For a French translation, see d'Arbois, V Epopee Celtique, I, 320 ff. ; ef. 
E. Hull, Cuchullin Saga, pp. 77-100. 

3 This sentence is not in LL. I insert it from the Harleian text. 

* This sentence is from the Harleian MS. In place of it LL. reads: '"It 
befits you,' said his wife, 'not to be overconfident and speak recklessly.'" 

32 A. C. L. Brown. 

The assembly was held. Toward the end of the day the king's chariot 
with its horses won the victory. The people cried : " There is nothing 
swifter than these horses ! " But Crunniuc said : " My wife is swifter." 
He was instantly seized by the king and ordered to be put to death unless 
he could prove his rash words. A messenger was sent to tell his wife. " It 
is truly a misfortune for me," said she, " that I must go to free him, for I am 
with child." The woman, however, went to the assembly and ran the race 
to save her husband. She reached the goal before the horses, but was 
delivered of twins on the spot and died. In her agony she screamed, and 
all the men who heard her cry fell into a weakness like that of a woman in 
travail for five nights and four days. This weakness returned periodically 
till the ninth generation : hence the Noinden Ulad. The woman's name 
was Macha, daughter of Sainreth mac Imbaith. 

In the above outline I have at two points (marked by brackets) 
followed the Harleian manuscript rather than the Book of Leinster, 
because at these points the later manuscript seems to me to have 
suffered less from the hands of the euhemerizer. In any case, the 
original fairy character of the lady appears beyond dispute. Her 
ancestry as given in the Book of Leinster is enough to indicate this : 
" Macha, daughter of Sainreth (' strange '), son of Imbath (ocean)." ' 
That is to say : daughter of the Stranger and granddaughter of 
the Sea. She is therefore of the race of Manannan son of Ocean, 
who, as we shall see, plays an important part in most Celtic fairy 

This story is important because its great antiquity is supported, 
not only by the external evidence already set forth, but by the primi- 
tive savagery attributed in it to the king, a bit of internal testimony 
sufficiently significant of itself. Taken together, these two stories, 
the Connla and the Noinden, whose ancient character is assured, 
seem to show that of the different conceptions of the fee, that which 
regarded her as a supreme being to whom every one else in the Other 
World is subject, was the older. In the Connla, to be sure, a king 
(Boadag) of Mag Mell is mentioned, but, as nothing is told about 

1 D'Arbois de Jubainville has pointed this out (VMpopie Celtique, I, 325). 
The meaning of imbath (= ocean) is supported by Cormac's Glossary, p. 94. 

2 Manannan mac Lir, who appears In the Welsh tales of the Red Book of 
Hergest as Manawyddan ab Llyr, an Other-World power. 



him and as the land is said to be inhabited by women only, perhaps 
he is a mere name inserted because it was felt that every land must 
have a king. Certainly it does not appear that he had power to 
limit in any way the liberty of the fie. In the euhemerized Noinden 
the most distinguishing feature of the original story, so far as we can 
make out, must have been that in it the position of the fie was so 
exalted that a single disobedience to her directions brought as its 
punishment^ perpetual separation. 

In the Irish tales next to be taken up (which are perhaps of later 
origin or at least are not preserved in so primitive forms as the 

I A parallel to the Noinden may be found in the Latin of Walter Map, De 
Nugis Curialium, ii, 12. The tale is told of Wild Edric, who was lord of Ledbury 
North, a place in Hereford on the borders of Wales, and therefore very likely 
goes back to Welsh tradition. If so, it has suffered modification under Teutonic 
influence, for it represents the hero as carrying off the fairy, an incident never 
found in genuine ancient Celtic story. The true Celtic fee is never surprised. 
She is far too exalted for that. She always comes of herself, as in the Noinden, 
— an important distinction between it and the tale of Edric. In other respects, 
however, the story is so much like that of the Noinden (in both they% is silent at 
first for a long time ; in both she disappears when the prohibition is broken) that 
it may rest at bottom on a Welsh fairy mistress tale. If so, it is an example of 
the substantial parallelism of Welsh and Irish tradition. " One day as Edricus 
Wilde was returning from the hunt, accompanied only by a lad, he lost his way 
in the forest. About midnight he came to a brilliantly lighted house {gkildkus), 
within which he saw a band of noble women engaged in a solemn dance. One, 
more beautiful than the rest, charmed him beyond measure. Fired with love, he 
rushed into the house and forcibly carried off the object of his passion. She 
remained mute for three days, though she did not refuse his caresses. On the fourth 
day she spoke, saying ; ' Hail, my dearest I You will be happy and prosperous till 
ihe day that you reproach me concerning the place or the wood in which I was 
found or concerning anything of the sort.' Edric promised to be faithful in his 
love. But some years later he chanced to return from the hunt at the third hour 
of the night. He called for his wife, and when she was long in appearing, he 
<;ried angrily : ' Pray, is it your sisters that have so long detained you .' ' At the 
-words she instantly vanished. Edric mourned exceedingly, and visited again the 
place whence he had carried her off, but he was unable to call her back by any 
entreaties. He wept day and night even to the point of foolishness toward him- 
self, for he wore out his life in perpetual grief." Of. also Liebrecht, Die Todten 
von Lustnau, Germania, XIII, 161 ff. (and Zur Volkskunde, pp.54 ff.), where many 
similar tales are cited. 

34 A. C. L. Brown. 

Connla and the Noinden), although the fie retains the exalted 
position which is a distinctive mark of Celtic tradition, she is no 
longer absolutely independent. There are kings as well as queens 
of the Other World. The. fie is regarded as the wife or the daughter 
of the king of Mag Mell. With the intrusion of the masculine element 
has come also the idea of combat. The Other World is no longer 
altogether a Land of Peace. 

It is easy to see how these ideas may have been developed from 
the notion of a king of the Other World found already in the Connla. 
It is possible also that they may have existed from the earliest times 
side by side with the conception of the fke as supreme in authority 
over a land of peace. But the fact that the latter view is indicated 
in the two oldest tales is at least significant. 

More important, however, is the consideration that in the Serglige 
Conculaind (the most complete of all the ancient tales of this genre), 
in which the fie is represented as the wife of Manannan, and in 
which a combat in the Other World is an important feature, all the 
leading parts are played by women. It is a fairy woman, Liban, 
who comes as a messenger to Cuchulinn and conducts him through 
the dangerous passage, and a woman, the fie herself, comes part 
way to meet him. The other-world actors in the story are all 
women. It looks, therefore, as if the men were originally mere 
servants or dependents of the fie. 

Although the story of Cuchulinn' s Sick Bed is tolerably accessible, 
yet, on account of its importance to this investigation, I have ventured 
to outline it at considerable length, following the Irish text as edited 
by Windisch.^ 


Two birds linked together by a chain of gold visited a lake in Ulster 
and by their song put the host to sleep. Cuchulinn, though warned that 

1 Irische Texie, I, 197-227, from the Lebor na h-Uidre, where it is said to be 
extracted from "The Yellow Book of Slane," evidently an earlier MS. For 
English translations of the tale, see O'Curry, Atlantis, I, 362-392, II, 98-124 
(1858) ; O'Looney in J. T. Gilbert, Facsimiles of /National MSS., I, 27-28, II, 
App. iv (1874-78). For a French translation, see d'Arbois de Jubainville, 
L'kpople Celtique, I, 170-216. Cf. Zimmer, Kuhn's Zt., XXVIII, 594 ff. 



there was "some power behind the birds," sought to slay them (§7).^ 
Being unsuccessful, he went away in bad spirits, and, sitting down against 
an upright stone, fell asleep. He saw two women come towards him, one 
in green and one in a five-folded crimson cloak. The woman in green went 
up to him and laughed and gave him a stroke of a whip. Then the other, 
coming up, also laughed and struck him, and this they did alternately till 
they left him nearly dead (§ 8).^ 

He was carried into a house, where he lay till the end of a year without 
speaking to any one (§ 9). Then, as he lay in the bed, a man mysteriously 
appeared, who sang verses promising him health and strength if he would 
accept the invitation of the daughters of Aed Abrat, one of whom, named 
Fand, wished to marry Cuchulinn (§10). The man departed after that, 
and they knew not whence he came or whither he went (§ 12). Cuchulinn 
rose up and spoke and went back to the upright stone, where he saw again 
the woman in the green cloak. From her he learned that Fand, deserted 
by her husband Mananndn mac Lir, had fallen in love with him. Her 
own name is Liban. She is sister to Fand and wife to Labraid Swift- 
Hand-on-Sword, who has sent her to ask Cuchulinn for one day's assistance 
against Labraid's enemies, Senach Si'abortha, Eochaid Iiiil, and Eogan 
Inbir, promising in return to give him Fand to wife. 

Cuchulinn sent his charioteer Loeg to see the mysterious land from which 
she came (§ 13). Liban and he went till they^came to the place where 
Fand was waiting for them. Then, it is said, Liban took hold of Loeg by 
the shoulder. " O Loeg," said Fand, " thou wilt not come out alive to-day 
unless a woman protect thee ! " "I have not been much accustomed to 
woman's protection," was Loeg's reply. Then they came to the water's 
edge, where they entered a boat of bronze and crossed over to an island 
(§ 14). Loeg saw Labraid and his palace and returning told his story to 
Cuchulinn and to every one else (§§ 16, 20). 

Again ^ Liban came to invite Cuchulinn to Mag Mell. She sang : 

Labraid is over a pure lake 

In a place that bands of women frequent. 

1 The references are to Windisch's sections. 

2 Cf. Perlesvaus, Potvin, I, 7, where a squire, wounded in a dream, wakes and 
finds the knife in his side. 

' Zimmer, Kuhn 'j Zt., XXVIII, 600, in his demonstration of the compilatory 
character of the sagas in LU, well says that this double preliminary visit of Loeg, 
as well as the double invitation by Liban, must have arisen from the contamination 
of two different versions of Cuchulinn's adventures. 

36 A. C. L. Brown. 

It would not be tedious to thee to go to his people 
If thou art to visit Labraid Luath. 

A bridle of gold is on his horses, 
And it is not only this, 
A pillar of silver and of glass, — 
This it is which is in his house (§ 31). 

" I will not go," said Cuchulinn, " at a woman's invitation." " Let Loeg 
come then," replied Liban, " to know everything." " Let him go," said 
Cuchulinn. Loeg therefore went with Liban and came to the place where 
Fand and Labraid were. Fand said : " Let Cuchulinn come with speed, for 
it is to-day that the battle is appointed " (§ 32). Thus admonished^ Loeg 
returned, in company with Fand, to Cuchulinn, and sang these verses in 
praise of the land he had seen ; 

I came in the fraction of a moment 
To a place wonderful although known. 
Up to a cairn with a band of twenty, 
Where I found Labraid Long-Hair. 

There were two kings in the house, 

Failbe Find and Labraid. 

Three fifties about each of them, 

This was the number of one house. 

Fifty beds on the right side 

And fifty their burden (?), 

Fifty beds on the left side 

And fifty their burden (.'). 

Front rails to the beds of wood. 

Their posts of white gilded over. 

And the light that they have 

Is a precious glittering stone. 

There is at the door toward the west, 

In the place where the sun goes down, 

A stud of pale horses with gay manes ; 

There is another, purple brown ; 

There are at the door toward the east 

Three trees of shining purple 

From which calls down the flock of birds, 

Always gentle to the youths from the royal city. 

There is a tree at the door of the enclosure. 

Not hateful the harmony from it, 

A tree of silver ; against it the sun shines, 

Iwain. 57 

Like unto gold its great splendor. 

There are three-score trees, 

Their tops barely touching. 

Three hundred men are nourished by each tree, 

With fruit manifold, without rind. 

There is a well in the noble sld, 

With three fifties, gay mantled ; 

And a brooch of gold, fair its color, 

In every one of the gay mantles. 

There is a cask there with joyous mead. 

Which is distributed to the household. 

It continues ever, enduring is the custom, 

So that it is always constantly full. 

There is a woman in this noble house ; 

She is superior to the women of Ireland ; 

With golden hair she comes out 

In her accomplished beauty. 

Her speech to the men of each king 

Is beautiful, is wonderful. 

She breaks the heart of every man 

For her love and her affection. 

Loeg declared that so great was her beauty as to cause him " to fear for 
his honor." He added : 

If there were to me all Ireland 

And the kingdom with the yellow hills, 

I would give it — no slight temptation — 

For the company in the place to which I came (§ 33). 

If I had not come away quickly, 

They had wounded me so that I had been powerless. 

The woman whom I speak of there. 
She robs the hosts of their wits (§34). 

Cuchulinn, persuaded by these words, mounted his chariot and accompanied 
Loeg and Fand to Mag Mali (§35). The combat now took place. At 
early dawn, Cuchulinn transfixed with his spear Eochaid luil, who was 
washing himself at a well. After that, he slew Senach Siabortha and won 
a victory for Labraid (§ 36). In return, he received Fand, with whom he 
lived for a month. When he departed she said to him : " I will meet thee 
in whatever place thou shalt appoint for me to come." 

After Cuchulinn returned home, he revealed to his wife Emer the 
appointed place of meeting. The jealous queen lay in wait with knives 

38 A. C. L. Brown. 

to murder Fand. Cuchulian rescued her (§ 39), but when Mananndn mac 
Lir heard of it, he suddenly appeared, visible to Fand alone. When she 
saw him she sang : 

See the son of the host of Lir 

Across the plains of Eogan Inbir 1 

It is Manannan more beautiful than the world. 

There was a time when he was dear to me. 

I see over the ocean yonder — 

No foolish person sees him — 

The Horseman of the Hairy Sea. 

He is not accompanied by a boat. 

In his approach he has passed by us here. 

No one sees him except fairy folk (§ 45). 

Thereupon Fand forsook Cuchulinn and went with Manannd.n (§46). 
When Cuchulinn perceived his loss of Fand, " he sprang three leaps upward 
and three leaps to the right of Liaacra, so that he was for a long time with- 
out drink and without food among the mountains, and 't is there that he 
slept every night upon the road of Midluacra '' (§ 47). 

Emer persuaded Conchobar to send " poets and people of wisdom and 
druids of the Ulstermen " to heal Cuchulinn, but " he sought to murder the 
people of wisdom. However, they sang their druidical charms over him 
till they captured his feet and hands and till he recovered a little of his 
senses. He asked for a drink then. They gave him a drink of forgetful- 
ness." As he drank the drink, there was no recollection to him of Fand 
nor of anything that he had done. Manannin shook his cloak between 
Cuchulinn and Fand so that they should never meet again (§48). 

This is the oldest known example of that particular type of Celtic 
fairy mistress story to which, on the hypothesis of a Celtic source, 
the original tale of Iwain must have belonged. The story, it will be 
observed, shows no noticeable modification by either Christian or 
classical infliiences. It appears, therefore, to embody genuine pagan 
tradition,^ though, as I have hinted, it may not be so old a form of 
the type as that which represents ihtfie as altogether supreme. The 

1 Whether the primitive Celtic character of the story be admitted or not, is, 
however, of no consequence to the question of Chretien's source. For the pur- 
poses of this study, it is enough to know that the story in its present form was 
current among the Celts at the time when LU was written. 

Twain. 39 

tale of course owes its preservation to the fact that it is told of the 
great hero Cuchulinn, who was regarded as an historical personage.^ 
In the same way, the original tale of Iwain, from which, according to 
the hypothesis, Chretien drew, was connected no doubt with the 
historical Owen, a hero of the Brythonic Celts. 

The resemblances between the story of Cuchulinn's Other-World 
Journey and the Ivain may be put somewhat compactly as follows : 
In the Serglige, it is the account given by a- previous adventurer, 
Loeg, that stirs Cuchulinn to undertake the Other-World Journey. 
The same is true in the Ivain, where the tale of Calogrenant supplies 
the incentive. In both stories the encounter with the Other-World 
folk is provoked by going to a particular spot and performing a 
particular act. Cuchulinn sits down against an upright stone ; Iwain 
pours water on the stone at the Fountain Perilous. The Other- World 
landscape as described by Loeg reminds one distinctly of the marvel- 
lous scenery at the Fountain Perilous. In both there is a tree from 
which a flock of birds sings with harmony, while close at hand is 
"a noble well." Loeg's description of the beauty of Fand, "which 
robs the hosts of their wits," reads like an extract from Iwain's 
reflections at the sight of Laudine. There is a dangerous passage 
on the way to the Other World, according to the Serglige, from which 
Loeg is told that he will not return alive unless a woman protects 
him. Liban therefore takes him by the shoulder at this point. 
Similarly in the Ivain the hero escapes from the peril at the falling 
gates by the aid of a woman, Lunete, who is, like Liban, the mes- 
senger and confidante of the lady.^ In both stories the hero must be 

1 The best authorities still so regard him (see Zimmer, Keltiscke Studien, II, 189). 

2 Chretien does not say that Lunete is, like Liban, the sister of the lady, but he 
represents her as occupying such a position of influence that it is natural to think 
that she may have been, in a more primitive form of the tale, the lady's sister. 

Cf. Ivain, vv. I589ff. : 

La dameisele estoit si bien 

De sa dame que nule rien 

A dire ne li redotast, 

A quoi que la chose tomast, 

Qu'ele estoit sa mestre et sa garde. 

In Le Bel Inconnu the messenger is a sister of the enchanted lady for whom she 
seeks help at Arthur's court, and so in other similar stories. 

40 A. C. L. Brown. 

the victor in a combat before he secures the lady's hand. Cuchulinn 
slays Eochaid luil and Senacfa Siabortha. Iwain slays Esclados 
the Red. In both, the hero marries the lady. In both, he leaves 
her to return to his own land. In both, for a slight offense (in the 
Serglige, because of his having revealed to his wife the appointed 
place of meeting; in the Ivain for having overstayed his time), he 
loses her. In both, the result is the madness of the hero, who runs 
wild in the forests or on the mountains.-' In both cases he is cured 
by a marvellous remedy : Iwain by an ointment of "Morgue la sage," 
Cuchulinn by a druidical " drink of forgetfulness." In carrying this 
parallel out, Laudine naturally equates with Fand,^ Lunete with Liban, 

1 Cuchulinn, it is said, " went without drink and without food." Iwain's 
hunger in the same situation is thus described in v. 2852 : " Mes li fains I'angoisse 
et esforce." 

2 The meaning of the name Fand is given in the Serglige (" Fand ainm na 
dere": Windisch, Irische Texte, I, 210) as "tear-drop." Manannan, son of 
Ocean, is evidently a sea divinity. Rhys is perhaps therefore right in identifying 
this Liban, daughter of Aed Abrat, with a Liban, daughter of Eocho, who, in the 
story called the Destruction of Eocho mac Mairedo (in LU, 39, a 22 ff., edited 
and translated by Crowe, Proceedings of R. H. and A. A. of Ireland, 1870, 
pp. 94-112; the same tale, from a late MS., is in O'Grady, Silv. Gad., II, 
267 ff.), is a woman in charge of a magic well, which, neglected by her, overwhelmed 
her and changed her into a mermaid, half salmon, half woman (Rhys, Hib. Led., 
p. 463, mistakenly says into " an otter "), while the water formed Loch Neagh. After 
she had ranged the sea for three hundred years, Beon heard her singing beneath 
his boat. She told him that she had come on purpose to make an appointment 
to meet him a year hence. On that day she was caught. Comgall baptized her 
Muirghein (sea-birth). 

The Land beyond the Waves, where the fairy folk are represented as dwelling 
(cf. Labraid's Isle in the Serglige), was no doubt confused with the Land beneath 
the Waves, just as Zimmer has shown that the Fairies of the Sid and the Fairies 
of the Land beyond the Waves are never kept separate {Zt. f. deutsches Alt., 
XXXIII, 276). It is not, therefore, surprising to find the people of the Other 
World provided with names appropriate to the waters (cf. Macha, granddaughter 
of the Sea, in the Noinden). That the Celtic Other World was early confused 
with the Land beneath the Waves is clear from the tale of Loegaire mac 
Crimthann in the Book of Leinster. This story has never been translated from 
the ancient manuscript. A translation from a fifteenth century manuscript may 
be found in O'Grady, Silva Gadelica, II, 290-291. The following outline is made 
from the R. I. A. Book of Leinster Facsimile, 275, /3, 22—276, |S, 20 : 



and Esclados with Manannan, son of Ocean, for Cuchulinn secures 
the love of Fand after the departure of Mananndn, just as Iwain 
does that of Laudine after the death of Esclados. The fee is in both 
tales already married to a husband, with whom possession of her 
must be disputed. 

Crimthann Cas, king of Connaught, held a great assembly by Bird Lake in the 

plain of Aei. When the host arose early in the morning, they saw approaching 

through the mist a man in a five-folded purple mantle. A gold-rimmed shield was 

slung on him, a gold-hilted sword was in his belt, and golden hair streamed behind 

him. The stranger was welcomed by Loegaire, the king's son, to whom he 

declared that he was Fiachna mac Retach of the Fairy Folk. His wife has been 

carried off by a hostile prince. He has fought several unsuc- 
The Tale of r , l , 

Loegaire. cessful battles to recover her, and this very day another battle is 

appointed. It is to solicit help that he is come. " Not to aid 

this man were a shameful thing," said Loegaire, and together with fifty fighting 

men he stepped out after the stranger, who, still preceding them, dived into the 

lochf and they followed him \Gaibidside remib fon loch. Gabaiiseotn dono ina 

dhiaid. 276, a, 20]. When they reached Mag Mell, they engaged in the battle 

against Fiachna's enemy GoU. GoU was slain, and Fiachna's wife was rescued. 

That night Fiachna's daughter was bestowed on Loegaire, and on his fifty lads 

fifty other women. So to a year's end they abode. 

One day Loegaire asked leave to go and seek tidings of his land. "If ye 
would come back," Fiachna enjoined, "take horses with you and by no means 
dismount from them." So when he and his companions had reached their own 
land of Connaught, their friends rushed forth to meet them, but were warned off 
by Loegaire, who said, " Touch us not ; 't is to bid you farewell that we are here." 
" Leave me not ! " implored his father Crimthann. But Loegaire sang : " One 
night of the nights of the Sid I would not give for thy kingdom." So he turned 
from them and entered the Sid, where with Fiachna he exercised kingly rule and 
the daughter of Fiachna beside him. 

A striking parallel to this prohibition of dismounting is to be found in what we 
must regard as essentially the Welsh tale of Herla (Walter Map, De Nugis, It 
11), "a king of the very ancient Britons," who visited the Under World and on 
returning was given a dog and warned not to allow any of his train to dismount 
till the dog had done so. Herla, on coming out into daylight, found that he had 
been absent more than two hundred years, though it seemed but three days. One 
of his train dismounted, disregarding the injunction respecting the dog, and forth- 
with fell in a heap of dust. As the dog has not yet dismounted, Herla and his 
train are compelled to wander over the world. On the punishment for dismount- 
ing, cf. the fate of Nechtan, Voyage of Bran, § 65, and that of Guingamor (see 
Schofield, in Studies and Notes, V, 221 ff.). Other parallels might easily be 

42 A. C. L. Brown. 

The diligent reader of Arthurian material must feel a certain 
probability in this parallel between Esclados le Ros and Manannan, 
the tricky magician and shape-shifter of the Celts.' The mysterious 

1 Rhys, Hib. Led., pp. 370-371, suggests a connection between Manannan 
and the Irish stem mon- ("a trick"). The shape-shifting character of Manannan 
is well established. In a quotation from the Tain Bo (LU) in O'Curry's Manners 
and Customs, II, 310, it is said: "Cuchulinn threw his mantle of invisibility over 
him, manufactured from the precious fleeces of the land of the immortals, which 
had been brought him by Manannan mac Lir.'' In the Book of Leinster, 152, ^, 
16, we read that one of Manannan's messengers, Fer-Fi, had the power of assuming 
at pleasure a woman's shape. In some fragmentary Annals in Egerton lySz, a 
fifteenth century MS. (translated by O'Grady, Silva Gad., II, 425), it is said: 
" The notable Mongan was son to that same Fiachna ; for albeit certain dealers 
in antiquarian fables do propound him to have been son to Manannan, and wont 
to enter at his pleasure into diverse shapes, yet this we may not credit," where 
the connection felt between Manannan and shape-shifting is clear. In the Legend 
of Eithne, in the Book of Fermoy, a fifteenth century MS. (summarized by Todd, 
R. I. A., Irish MS. Series, I, i, 46), we are told that Manannan was the great 
astrologer and magician of the Tuatha De Danaan. He settled them in the most 
beautiful valleys, drawing round them an invisible wall, impenetrable to the eyes 
of other men, and impassable. Manannan also supplied them with the ale of 
Goibhnenn the Smith, which preserved them from old age and death, and gave 
them for food his own swine, which, although killed and eaten one day, were alive 
again and fit for eating the next, and so would continue for ever. In the Sons of 
Usnech, edited and translated in Irische Texte, II, ii, 109-184, Naisi exclaims (p. 171) : 
" Behold the sword of Manannan mac Lir. It leaves no relic of stroke or blow 
behind." In the Fate of the Children of Tuirenn (translated by Joyce, Old Celtic 
Romances, pp. 36 ff., from a fifteenth century MS.) Luge is described as possessing 
a full set of Manannan's belongings : " He rode Manannan's steed Enbarr of the 
flowing mane. No one was ever killed on this steed, for she travelled vrith equal 
ease on land and on sea. He wore Manannan's coat of mail, through which no 
one could be wounded. He had on Manannan's breast plate, that no weapon 
could pierce, and Manannan's helmet Cannbarr, that glittered with dazzling bright- 
ness (p. 49). Manannan's sword. The Answerer, hung at his side ; no one ever 
recovered from its wound. Those who were opposed to it in battle had no more 
strength in looking at it than a woman in violent sickness." (There is a remark- 
able parallel in this sword to Caliburnus, Geoffrey, ix, 4.) Manannan is connected 
with the Isle of Man, which was perhaps confused by the early Celts with the 
Land beyond the Waves. There is in Cormac's Glossary and in the Yellow Book 
of Lecan (Skene, Four Books, I, 79; Rhys, Hib. Lect., p. 664) a strictly euhemer- 
ized account of him, which yet lays stress on his shrewdness : " Manannan mac Lir, 
a celebrated merchant between Erin, Alban and the Isle of Man. A druid 



red knight ^ who encountered Iwain at the fountain has absolutely 
no character of his own. One cannot but fancy that he was, in an 
earlier form of the story, some one in disguise. 

It is convenient for the purpose of illustration to arrange the inci- 
dents of the Serglige and those of the Ivain in parallel columns, as 
on the following page. 

From this table it will be seen that of the seventeen incidents 
which make up the main portion of the Ivain,^ ten may be traced 

(i.e. magician) was he also, and he was the best navigator, and used to know 
through his science the calms and storms." Modem Celtic folk-tales agree in 
representing Manannan as a shape-shifter (cf. Larminie, West Irish Folk-Tales, 
p. 64, and especially Gloss Gavlen, Larminie, pp. 1-9). 

It is plain, from a poem in the Black Book of Caermarthen (written before 1189) 
that this character of Manannan was shared by the ancient Welsh Manawyddan 
ab Llyr. See Skene, Four Books, I, 262 (text, II, 51) : 

Manawydan the son of Llyr, 
Deep was his counsel. 
Did not Manawyd bring 
Perforated shields from Try wruid ? 

In the Book of Taliesin (fourteenth century MS.), Skene, I, 276 (text II, 153), 
he is connected with the Other World : 

Complete is my chair in Caer Sidi . . . 
It is known to Manawyd and Pryderi. 

In the Mabinogi of Manawyddan ab Llyr (Loth, Les Mabinogion, I, 97 ff.) he is 
represented as outwitting Llwyd ab Kilcoet, the greatest enchanter of Britain. 
Perhaps the numerous different trades that Manawyddan successively takes up in 
this tale are a relic of his habit of assuming different shapes. 

1 See pp. 1 14 ff., below. 

2 The Serglige furnishes no parallel to the latter portion of the Ivain. Celtic 
fairy mistress tales usually end, as the Ivain appears to do, with a reconciliation 
between the hero and the fee, and his permanent residence with her in the Other 
World. Whether the original tale of Fand ended in this way or not, such a 
denouement could not be retained when the story was worked up into its present 
form as a definite part of the Cuchulinn saga, for the later adventures and the 
death of Cuchulinn are there related. We may suppose, therefore, that the original 
ending of the Serglige has suffered modification. The first part of the Serglige 
is not paralleled in the Ivain. It is to be noted, however, in regard to the coming 
of Liban to invite Cuchulinn to the Other World (incident 4 of the table), that 
Lunete is made to say in the Ivain (vv. 1004 ff.) that she had been sent once as 


A. C. L. Brown 










to d ^ *^ ^ 

■a -i-oK •K^'js'? 's^ • 



Twain. 4 5 

more or less distinctly in the older tale. The arrangement of the 
episodes, too, is essentially the same, for incidents 6 and 7 of the 
Serglige have been inserted in the table from Loeg's narrative. It 
would be fair to transpose them to the later journey of Cuchulinn, 
of which of course they must have been episodes also. 

The table is given at this point as an aid to the study of the Other- 
World Journey type of story. It is not maintained that by itself it 
proves much. Doubtless one or two of the parallels noted, as per- 
haps that between the perilous passage encountered by Loeg and 
the falling gates in the Ivain, may for the present seem not to be 
significant. But the matter does not end here. We are able, and 
this will be our next task, to trace these motives through the mass of 
Celtic Other-World story and thus determine their typical develop- 
ment. In this way it will be possible to ascertain what the signifi- 
cance of the parallels here indicated really is. The table serves to 
make it plain that parallels of some sort to most of the incidents of 
the main portion of the Ivain can be pointed out in this one ancient 
story, which, it must be remembered, is, so to speak, two removes 
from Chretien. In the first place, it is a Goidelic and not a Brythonic 
tale, and, in the second place, Chre'tien either did not understand 
the Other- World character of what, according to the hypothesis, we 
must suppose to have been the essentially Brythonic material he was 
using, or else he deliberately rationalized it so far as he was able. 

For the present, it is plain that enough striking resemblances have 
been observed to make the theory that the Ivain is at bottom an 
Other-World tale parallel to the Serglige, at least very plausible. If we 
take but four significant parallels, — (i) the fact that both Cuchulinn 
and Iwain are persuaded to their journey by the tale of a previous 
adventurer ; (2) Loeg's description of the Other- World landscape, 
which is very like that at the Fountain Perilous ; (3) the parallel 
between Liban, the messenger and co?tfidante of Fand, and Lunete ; 
(4) the madness of the hero consequent upon the loss of the mistress 
in both stories, — surely we have here at least a better framework. 

a messenger by her lady to Arthur's court. Perhaps, therefore, an older form of 
the tale of Iwain had a parallel here. Lunete may have been sent to Arthur's 
court to invite one of his knights to the marvellous land where her lady dwelt. 

46 A. C. L. Brown. 

out of which we may suppose that Chretien built up his romance, 
than the Matron of Ephesus could ever furnish. In the Matron of 
Ephesus one can find at most but two motives parallel to the Ivain, — 
the remarriage of a newly bereaved widow, and the presence of a 
lady's maid or confidante who favors the suitor. Whatever discretion, 
therefore, at this point the reader may exercise about drawing too 
definite conclusions as to the certainty of a Celtic origin for the Ivain, 
the Matron of Ephesus hypothesis must, it would seem, from now on, 
be regarded as permanently disposed of. 

CHAPTER IV {Continued). 


II. The Combat Motive. 

From the Serglige, as well as from the Tale of Loegaire (where as 
a reward for his aid the hero receives the daughter of the fairy king), 
it is clear that participation in a successful combat in the Other 
World was very early ^ represented as a necessary condition for win- 
ning the hand of a fte. In these two stories, however, the parallel 
to the Ivain is not very close, because it is a general battle, not a 
single combat like that with Esclados, which is described. It is 
interesting, therefore, to compare at this point an ancient Welsh tale 
in which a distinct account of a single combat in the Other World 
appears : 


Arawn, a king of the Other World {Annwn), appeared to Pwyll, prince 
of Dyfed in Wales, and proposed an exchange of kingdoms, his object 

1 Though, as has been hinted, perhaps not in the earliest tales. 

2 Summarized from Pwyll Prince of Dyvet, one of the four genuine Mabinogion. 
See Loth, Les Mabinogion, I, 27-38, and, for the Welsh text, Rhys and Evans, 
Red Book, I, 1-8. 

I wain. 47 

being to have the other take his place in a single combat which had been 
appointed for a certain day one year from that time."^ The antagonist was 
Hafgan, an Other-World king with whom Arawn was continually at war. 
Arawn declared to Pwyll : " I will set thee in my place in Annwn and give 
thee the most beautiful woman thou hast ever seen to sleep with thee every 
night. And I will put my shape and semblance on thee, so that not a page 
of the chamber that has always followed me shall know that it is not I. 
I will take thy kingdom and will cause that no one in all thy dominions 
shall know that I am not thou." Pwyll agreed to this, and went to Annwn 
in Arawn's shape, where he took his place beside a queen of wondrous 
beauty .2 When the day appointed for the combat was at hand, the fairy 
hosts assembled. An officer made this announcement : " The battle is 
between two kings, and between them only. Each claims the other's land 
and territory. Ye are to remain quiet and allow the two to decide the 
fight" Pwyll wounded Hafgan mortally. Afterwards he re-exchanged^ 
with Arawn, who "gave to Pwyll his own proper semblance while he him- 
self took his own." When Pwyll returned to Dyfed he found that no one 
had been aware of his absence, and that his kingdom had been better 
governed than usual that year. 

In this tale Arawn takes the place of Manannan as the husband 
of the fie. It will be observed that, like the latter, he is a shape- 
shifter. He has power to exchange his appearance with that of Pwyll. 
As in the Serglige, a contest between the husband and the mortal 
hero for the possession of the/^^ seems to be hinted at. Cuchulinn 
enjoyed the company of Fand, after she had been forsaken by 
Manannan, and lost her when her husband returned. So Pwyll 
was entertained in Annwn during the absence of Arawn. 

There is in the same mabinogi another tale in which the element 
of contest for the possession of the fee comes out clearly : 

1 Similarly in the Serglige (§ 32) and in the Tale of Loegaire, the time of the 
Other-World combat was iSx&2.&^ fixed before the message came to the mortal hero 
urging him to participate. This is a good example of the parallelism of Welsh 
and Irish story. 

2 The Welsh tale, however, with unprimitive scrupulosity, makes him respect 
the chastity of Arawn's queen. 

' The second meeting of Pwyll and Arawn occurs at the same particular spot 
as the first, just as Cuchulinn returned to the same upright stone {Serglige, § 13). 
Another parallel between Welsh and Irish story. 

48 A. C. L. Brown. 


Pwyll visited the summit of a mound concerning which the tradition was 
that whoever sat there would see a prodigy. Pwyll had no sooner seated 
himself than he saw a lady riding past on a white horse. She was clad in a 
garment of shining gold. As no one could tell who she was, he despatched 
one of his followers to pursue her. After a chase on foot, the man 
returned, saying that he could not overtake her. Pwyll gave him the 
swiftest horse he had, but the man was even then unsuccessful. " There 
was some magic about the lady that kept her always the same distance 
ahead, though she appeared to be, riding slowly." The next day Pwyll 
returned to the mound. Again he saw the lady. Again he despatched a 
mounted servant, and again pursuit was unsuccessful. The third day Pwyll 
himself, mounted on a swift steed, pursued the lady. Finding himself unable 
to gain on her, he exclaimed : " For the sake of the man whom you love, wait 
for me ! " At his cry she stopped and waited for him to come up. Pwyll never 
saw a lady so beautiful. She told him she came solely for love of him. She 
is Rhiannon, who is to be married to Gwawl, a suitor whom she detests. She 
will have no one unless it be Pwyll. At her suggestion, Pwyll promised to 
come at the end of a year to rescue her for himself. 

At the appointed day Pwyll went, and was received by Rhiannon at a feast. 
But a petitioner came in and sought a boon. Pwyll rashly promised him 
whatever he should ask. He asked for Rhiannon. It was Gwawl, the 
hated suitor, who had disguised himself as a petitioner in order to trick 
Pwyll.^ Pwyll's princely honor kept him from breaking his word once 
given, and he handed Rhiannon over to Gwawl. However, she persuaded 
Gwawl to depart for a year's time, and before sending Pwyll away she gave 
him a magic bag, and instructed him how to entrap his hated rival. 

At the end of a year the two suitors returned to Rhiannon, and Pwylt 
entrapped Gwawl in the bag. His enemy once in the bag, Pwyll wound 
his horn. His warriors, who were in ambush without, entered and seized 
all who attempted to resist. Each warrior as he passed dealt a blow at the 
bag. At length, to escape the punishment of the bag, Gwawl consented to 
release Pwyll from his rash promise. Thus Pwyll remained in possession, 
of Rhiannon. 

1 Summarized from Loth, Les Mabinogion, I, 38-52. For the Welsh text see 
Rh^s and Evans, Red Book, I, 8 ff. 

2 No one recognizes Gwawl. It is probable, therefore, that he, like Manannati 
and Arawn, had the power of shape-shifting. 

I wain. 


Several of the motives traced in the previous tales recur distinctly 
in this. There is ever a particular spot to which one must resort in 
order to meet the fairy folk. Cuchulinn returned to the upright 
stone. Pwyll, in the previous tale, made his way to the spot where 
he first met Arawn. In the present narrative, it is from the top of a 
particular mound that Pwyll on three successive days descries the 
approach of the fke. So in the Ivain, whoever makes his way to 
the Fountain Perilous and pours water on the rock, will encounter the 
hostile knight. One of the notes of the Other- World Journey is that 
the coming of the hero is always expected. He may fancy that he 
has stumbled upon the fee by chance, but as a matter of fact she has 
chosen him long before and lured him to her. Not always, as in the 
Echtra Condla, and as here, does she come in person to escort him. 
But when her messenger appears, as Liban did to Cuchulinn, it is 
none the less surely at her suggestion.^ 

Although in this tale of Pwyll a set combat with the unearthly 
suitor for possession of the fie is lacking, yet in the episode of the 
bag a situation of the sort is closely approximated. Certainly, from 
a story of this type the idea of representing the fie as guarded by a 
suitor or a husband, who must be overthrown before she can be 
approached, might naturally be developed. In the first place, as we 
have seen, it is likely that the fie was supreme. She dwelt in a 
Land of Women, where, though there may have been a king, he was 
a mere name and did not interfere with the perfect liberty of the fie. 
But the tendency to make the Other World a counterpart of this 
earth was strong. In the Serglige, the Loegaire, and their Welsh 
analogues, the notion of fighting is present, and Xh^fie, except in the 
Tale of Loegaire, has a husband or a suitor like any mortal woman. 
From this the step to regarding her as more or less in the power of 
a warrior, who must be overthrown before she can be reached, is a 
natural one. Originally this opposing warrior was probably only a 
creature of the/^^, sent out by her to test the hero's valor. He may 
have appeared for this purpose in various gigantic shapes. If so, 

1 For this reason it is probable that the previous visit of Lunete to Arthur's 
court, referred to in Ivain, vv. 1004 ff., was at bottom for the purpose of persuad- 
ing Iwain to his marvellous journey. 

so A. C. L. Brown. 

the tendency for confusion to arise between this situation, and the 
common incident of a giant who has a charming wife, or a pretty 
daughter, who gladly yields herself as prize to the hero who can slay 
the tyrant, would be strong. Even, therefore, if our analogues 
stopped here, we might safely explain the situation of Laudine with 
respect to Esclados, as a natural development of the combat-episode 
found in the Serglige and in the Welsh parallels, most probably 
helped by confusion with the well-known motive of the giant ^ and 
the lady. There is evidence that Esclados may have been repre- 
sented as a giant in an earlier form of the tale. Calogrenant's 
description of him ("[II] fu sanz dote Plus granz de moi la teste 
tote," v. 521. 2) and of his lance (" n'estoit mie legiere, Einz iert plus 
grosse au mien cuidier Que nule lance a chevalier ; Qu' einz nule 
si grosse ne vi," vv. 534-537) is borne out by the description of the 
corresponding warrior in the analogous episode of " La Joie de la 
Cort " in the Erec : " Qui mout estoit granz a mervoilles " and 

Estoit un pid plus granz 

A tesmoing de totes les janz, 

Que chevaliers que I'an seiist (vv. S900-5905). 

1 Whoever doubts that the popular tale of a giant -with a beautiful captive was 
current among the ancient Celts should read a passage from the Tockmarc Emere 
(LU, 126, a 11-41), translated and discussed by Zimmer in Haupt's Zt., XXXII, 
240-241. The whole saga has since been published by K. Meyer in Zt. f. Celt. 
Phil., Ill, 229 (from MS. Harl. 5280). Cuchulinn, on his way to Ireland, stops at 
an island. He finds the daughter of the king about to be given to two giants 
(fomoir) unless a champion can be found. Cuchulinn slays the giants. Many 
go to the palace of the king and pretend to have done the deed, but the girl 
recognizes Cuchulinn. The king thereupon offers his daughter to Cuchulinn, 
who refuses her and departs. The incident of others who claim credit for the 
rescue, while the hero alone is recognized by the girl, marks this as essentially a 
popular tale. Rhys has pointed out I^Hib. Led., pp. 342 ff.) that in one of 
Cuchulinn's expeditions to the Other World (preserved only in a fourteenth- 
century manuscript: see Irische Texte, II, i, 173-209) a giant has to be fought. 
Cuchulinn goes in a mysterious boat belonging to the Prince of Alban to a beau- 
tiful island surrounded by a wall of silver and a palisade of bronze, where he is 
entertained. He is directed to an adjoining island, where he encounters the giant 
Coirpre. After a long battle, the giant is overcome. He thereupon becomes very 
hospitable, brings Cuchulinn to his house, and bestows on him his daughter. 

I wain. 5 1 

By good fortune, moreover, there is another ancient fairy-mistress 
story told of Cuchulinn, in which an exact parallel to the incident of 
Laudine's speedy marriage to the slayer of her husband appears. It 
is therefore certain that a development similar to that just assumed 
had actually taken place among the Celts before the time of Chretien. 
The story occurs in a Dinnshenchas which gives only the summary 
of an ancient tale, rationalized so as to read like history. It runs 
in brief as follows ■' : 


Curoi mac Dairi's wife Bldthnat, daughter of Menn, king of Falga, loved 
Cuchulinn and urged him to come and take her from Curoi. Cuchulinn did 
so. At an appointed signal, he stormed the fort, slew its owner, and mar- 
ried Bldthnat. Together with her he secured the famous cows and cauldron 
belonging to Curoi. 

Falga is glossed in the manuscript " the Hebrides of to-day," '^ 
but there can be no doubt that it was a synonym for the Other 
World.' It is sometimes identified with the Isle of Man,* which, as 
we noted when treating of Manannan, was confused by the ancient 
Celts with the Land beyond the Waves. Menn (or Mider), king of 
the Isle of Man (or Fairyland), is well known.^ It is clear, then, 
that Blathnat was a fSe. 

Curoi, her husband, is an exactly parallel figure to Manannan 
mac Lir.° He is a magician and shape-shifter, and also Lord of 

1 Facsimile of the Book of Leinster, 169, /3, 42 ff. Printed by O'Grady, Silva 
Gadelica, II, 482 (translation at p. 530). 

2 "Inse Gall indiu" (LL, 169, /3, 46). 

3 It is so used in the Bodley Dinnshenchas (see Nutt, Voyage of Bran, I, 213, 
and Folk Lore, III, 471). 

* Henderson, Fled Bricrend, p. 142 ; Rhys, Hib. Led., p. 476. 

5 He so appears in the Tochmarc Etdine in the Lebor na h-Uidre, edited by 
Windisch, Irische Texte, I, 127 ff. ; cf. I, 204, note. 

6 O'Grady, Hist, of Ireland, p. 220, note (cited by Henderson, Fled Bricrend, 
p. 195), views Curoi "as the great Southern marine genius, corresponding to 
Manannan amongst the Northern Irish." Henderson (p. 197) calls him " a great 
magician, really an Other-World power, at any rate a water-demon like Grendel." 

52 A. C. L. Brown. 

the Sea. His combat with Cuchulinn is referred to in an ancient 
Welsh poem, Marwnat Corroi map Dayry^ which shows that his 
story was famous among the Brythonic as well as the Goidelic Celts. 

^ No. xlii in the Book of Taliessiji, a manuscript considered by Skene (Four 
Books, I, 3) to belong to tlie beginning of the fourteenth century. The text is 
printed by Skene, II, 198, with a translation, I, 254-255. I quote a more recent 
translation by Rh^s in Proc. of Roy. Soc. of Ant. of Ireland, XXI, 642 fE. (1891). 


Thy broad fountain replenishes the world ; 
It comes, it goes, it hurries to Dover. 
The death-wail of Corroi has startled me ; 
Cold the deed of him of rugged passions, 
Whose crime was one which few have heard of. 
Daire's son held a helm on the Southern Sea, 
Sung was his praise before his burial. 
Thy broad fountain replenishes Nonneu : 
It comes, it goes, it hurries to Dover ; 
But mine is the death-wail of Corroi ; 
Cold the deed of him of rugged passions, 
Whose crime was one that few have heard of. 

Thy broad fountain replenishes thy tide. 
Thine arrow speeds for the . . . strand of Dover, 
Subjugator, vast is thy battle-front. 
And after Man it is to the towns 
They go . . . of Gwinionydd. 
Whilst victorious the space of . . . morning 
News I am told of men on the ground, 
The adventures of Corroi and Cuchulainn, 
Of many a turmoil on their frontier, 
Whilst the head of a gentle host was . . . 
The noble fort that falls not nor quakes. 
Blessed is the soul that meant it. 

Instead of " Daire's son held a helm," etc., Skene translates, " Mac Daire, lord of 
the southern sea." In any case, it is plain that the poem calls the ocean Curoi's 
" broad fountain," which is enough to mark him as a kind of sea-divinity. It is 
fair to add that O'Curry, Manners and Customs, III, 81, quotes a story that repre- 
sents Cuchulinn as having in the first place carried off Blathnat from her father 
Mider ; Curoi stole her from him, and therefore Cuchulinn, in slaying the latter, 
was only regaining his rights. Even if this be a part of the old tale, it in no way 
modifies any conclusions reached above. Curoi is as surely an Other-World king 
as Mider. 

I wain. 5 3 

Curoi appears in the Irish Fled Bricrend'^ as a magician dwelling in 
a revolving castle beside a loch. The three champions of Ulster 

1 Edited by Henderson, froni the Lebor na h-Uidre and later manuscripts. The 
story, like most of the texts in LU, shows evidence of having been compiled from 
various older sources. Henderson says (p. xliv) : " One is assuredly right in 
holding that a tale like the Emain-Curoi story was current in Erin during the last 
quarter of the ninth century. For anything to the contrary I see no reason why, 
in the main essentials, it should not orally go back to the earliest period of Irish 
Saga." The story is, that, — at the feast given by Bricriu, — Loigaire, Conall, and 
Cuchulinn fell to quarrelling as to which should have the Hero's Portion. They 
were directed to go to Curoi mac Dairi: 

" ' He will adjudge ye truly. To ask him demandeth courage.' " 

Loigaire set out first. When he approached the place, " a dim, dark, heavy 
mist overtook him, confusing him in such wise that it was impossible for him to 
fare farther on the way." A huge giant now appeared and overthrew him, 
robbing him of his horses, his chariot, and his arms. 

"Not long thereafter Conall the Victorious took the same way and arrived at 
the plain where the druidical mist overtook Loigaire." The like hideous, black, 
dark cloud overtook him, and he fared in the same way at the hands of 
the giant. 

Cuchulinn then set out, and overthrew the giant, bringing back with him his 
own horses and arms, as well as those of his fellows. [It is not said that the giant 
is Curoi, but as they set out to go to Curoi it is natural to suppose that they found 
him.] His two rivals still refused to yield Cuchulinn the championship. After 
another quarrel, the three heroes are told to go to the ford of Yellow, son of Fair. 
" He will adjudge ye." Yellow felt that the task was too difficult. " But I know," 
he added, " one who will venture it, viz.. Terror, son of Great Fear . . . , at yonder 
loch." Off then in quest of him they went. Terror was " a big powerful fellow. . . . 
He used to shift his form into what shape he pleased, was wont to do tricks of 
magic and such like arts. He in sooth was the wizard from whom Muni, the 
Wizard's pass, is named. [This reminds one of Rhys's connection of Manannan 
with mon-\ see p. 42, note.] He used to be called wizard from the extent to 
which he changed his divers shapes." 

Terror proposed the beheading game. He allowed Loigaire to cut off his head, 
picked the head up and went with it into his loch. On the morrow the giant 
returned, but Loigaire shirked his part of the bargain. The same was true of 
Conall, but Cuchulinn stood the test. Terror spared him and awarded him the 
supremacy, because he did not shrink. 

As soon, however, as the heroes had returned to the palace, " Loigaire and 
Conall disputed the verdict given in favor of Cuchulinn. . . . The Ultonians 
advised them to go for judgment unto Curoi. To that too they agreed." They 
set off for Fort Curoi, where they were entertained by Blathnat, Mind's daughter. 

54 ^- C- L. Brown. 

betook themselves to his mysterious fort to secure his decision as to 
which was the greatest warrior. He knew beforehand of their com- 
ing (as is always the case in the Other- World journey) and arranged 

wife of Curoi. " That night on their arrival Curoi was not at home. But know- 
ing they would come, he counselled his wife regarding the heroes." 

When bedtime came, she told them that each was to take his night, watching 
the fort until Curoi should return. "In what airt soever of the globe Curoi 
should happen to be, every night o'er the fort he chaunted a spell, till the fort 
revolved as swiftly as a mill-stone. The entrance was never to be found after 
sunset." Loigaire was sentry the first night. He was attacked by a monstrous 
giant from the sea, who tossed him out over the wall of the fort into the mire of 
the ditch. The second night Conall fared in the same way. 

The third night Cuchulinn kept watch. First he was attacked by twenty-seven 
warriors, whom he slew one after another. Then the monster of the loch came 
towards the fort " opening its mouth so that one of the palaces could go into its 
gullet." Cuchulinn dispatched it. "Then a giant approached westwards from 
the sea." Cuchulinn overcame him, and only spared his life on condition that he 
grant him the sovereignty of Erin's heroes. " It shall be thine," quoth the giant, 
who thereupon vanished, he knew not whither. Cuchulinn then by a tremendous 
effort sprang over the wall of the fort, as he supposed his fellows to have done. 
When he had entered the house " Blathnat made speech : ' Truly, not the sigh of 
one dishonored but a victor's sigh of triumph,' " for she knew full well the strug- 
gle Cuchulinn had had that night. It was not long when they beheld Curoi com- 
ing towards them. He complimented Cuchulinn, and assigned to him the 
sovereignty. The heroes thereupon returned to Emain. 

But Cuchulinn's superiority was again disputed ; whereupon, as the Ultonians 
were assembled, an ugly black giant entered the hall. He was clad in an old hide 
and had ravenous yellow eyes protruding from his head, each the size of an ox-vat. 
In his left hand he carried a club, a burden for twenty yoke of oxen, and in his 
right hand an axe. He proposed the beheading game, in which Loigaire and Conall 
were found wanting. [Here the ancient manuscript (LU) breaks off. The 
remainder of the tale is supplied from a fifteenth-century manuscript, which 
agrees so perfectly with what precedes that it must be regarded as authentic] 
Cuchulinn does not flinch when his turn comes to put his head on the block. 
The giant, however, merely taps him with the blunt side of the axe and 
exclaims ; 

" O Cuchulinn, arise ! The sovereignty of the heroes of Erin is thine 

" Then the giant vanished. It was Curoi mac Dairi who had come in that guise 
to fulfill the promise he had given to Cuchulinn." 

The present form of this story, with its many repetitions, has probably, as 
Henderson suggests, resulted from the addition of several variants of what was at 



for them a warm reception. The failure of Loigaire and of Conall 
is contrasted with the success of Cuchulinn after a tremendous com- 
bat in which he won a compliment from Curoi's wife Blathnat ^ (very 
much as in the Ivaiji the failure of Calogrenant is set off against the 

bottom the same tale. Certainly, Terror, son of Great Fear, seems to be a mere 
variant of Curoi. He does the same things, and like Curoi is a water demon. 
He dives into the loch so that, like Fiachna in the Tale of Loegaire, his home 
must be beneath the waves. Furthermore, "Terror" can hardly be his real 
name. He is probably Curoi in disguise. 

Whether this be so or not, I do not see how there can be any reasonable 
doubt that the giant whom Cuchulinn overcomes at Curoi's fort and compels to 
promise him the sovereignty, is Curoi in one of his magic shapes. Curoi has 
purposely absented himself just before the arrival of the heroes, and he returns 
directly after the sudden vanishing of the giant. What more natural than that 
he should himself test the heroes, just as we are expressly told that he did in the 
beheading game? Furthermore, if the giant is not Curoi, how can he promise 
the sovereignty, inasmuch as Cuchulinn is sworn to abide by the decision 
of Curoi.' 

If this explanation be correct, the kind words of praise bestowed by Blathnat 
on Cuchulinn when he proves himself victor over her husband are significant. 
The Fled Bricrend may preserve another form of the tale of which the LL 
Dinnshenchas gives ii euhemerized account. There is a combat in both, though 
only the Dinnshenchas represents Curoi as slain. But the killing of the husband 
would naturally be omitted in the Fled Bricrend, where it is needful to have 
Curoi come to the court at Emain in person in order to assign permanently the 
sovereignty to Cuchulinn. 

It is interesting to compare a modern Irish tale in which Cuchulinn by over- 
coming a giant and entering a revolving castle wins a fairy mistress (see Curtin, 
Myths and Folk-Lore of Ireland, pp. 304-326). Cuciilin, as his name is here 
spelled, is represented as one of the champions of Finn mac Cool. He is per- 
suaded to the adventure by the fairy herself, whose name is Gil an Og (Water of 
Life). She comes to the court of Finn with a magic shirt that would fit no one 
but Cuculin. She also presents him vpith a marvelkius speckled boat, in which to 
journey to the scene of the adventure. Cuculin is obliged to overcome a gruagach, 
who lives in an island surrounded by a chain and a ring of fire seven miles 
wide. He has also to slay a creature called " Thin-in-Iron " and to enter a turn- 
ing castle that has but one door, before he finally vrins the hand of Gil an Og. 
" Thin-in-Iron " may plausibly be regarded as a magician in disguise, and therefore 
as a parallel figure to Curoi. 

^ Zimmer rightly interprets this as meaning that Cuchulinn alone could force 
his way to the under world : " Hierin liegt wol, dass Cuchulinn urspriinglich 
allein in die unterwelt vordrang " (Zt.f deutsches Alt., XXXII, 331). 

56 A. C. L. Brown. 

success of the hero). One of Curoi's disguises in this story is the 
form of a black giant whom not even beheading can kill. 

Keeping clear of theory, it is plain from a comparison of this 
ancient account with that in the Dinnshenchas in LL, that Cuchulinn 
was credited with an Other- World Journey, in which he slew a giant 
who dwelt in a revolving castle, and married the giant's fairy wife. 
No closer parallel to the incidents of Laudine's marriage to Iwain 
could be found. The situation in the Matron of Ephesus, which has 
been put forward as a close parallel to the remarriage of Laudine, 
falls far short of this, for in it the lady does not marry the slayer of 
her husband, but only a soldier appointed to guard the corpses of 
some criminals. The Matron of Ephesus theory, whose only claim 
to attention was its supposed ability to explain this situation, is thus 
shown to break down utterly, even at the central point of its supposed 

CHAPTER IV (Continued). 


III. The Imrama. 

The germ of the imram is found in the oldest Celtic fairy tales. 
Connla was carried off in a boat of glass. In the Serglige the hero 
was ferried over to Labraid's isle in a ship of bronze. The term 
imram., however, is generally reserved for a particular class of Other- 
World journeys, in which stress is laid on the incidents of a voyage 
by sea and on the number of islands visited. In the Imram Mailduin, 
the best example of the type, more than thirty islands are described. 

The imrama have been built up, apparently by scribes, out of the 
material of older Other- World journeys like the Echtra Condla} The 

1 Zimmer {Zt.f. deutsches Alt., XXXIII, 129-220, 257-338) has shown that the 
Navigatio Brendani, and especially the earlier imrama (such as the Mailduin), are 
based essentially on ancient Celtic tradition and story concerning the Other 
World. From the Latin Navigatio there arose, as he points out, a vast literature 
in all European languages. 

Twain. c 7 

motive that seems to have determined the special form was a fond- 
ness for variety of adventure.' The interest is centred, not, as in 
the tales just discussed, on the struggle necessary to win the hand 
of thtfee, but on the strange incidents and dangers of the journey. 
The imrama are essentially books of adventure. 

Another motive that strongly affected the later imrama, and even 
the Voyage of Mailduin, though it scarcely touched the Voyage of 
Bran, was a desire to identify the Other World with Christian con- 
ceptions and thus to take advantage of the interest that Christians 
have always manifested in visions of any sort relating to Paradise. 
A word of explanation may be allowed here. It was a Christian 
belief that the souls of certain just men had gone, not directly 
to heaven, but to an intermediate place of happiness, there to abide 
till the Day of Judgment. This region was commonly identified 
with the Garden of Eden and thought of as containing the Tree of 
Life and other familiar features of the landscape of Paradise. The 
Celts, noticing a similarity between this place and their Happy 
Other World, strove in their imrama to show that those heroes 
who found their way to the Other World caught also glimpses of the 
Earthly Paradise.' This is probably the explanation of the absence 
of the combat motive from all the imrama, for evidently, if fighting 
were pictured in the Other World, all chance of identifying it with 
the Christian Paradise would be at an end. 

The process of identification of the Other World with the Earthly 
Paradise was a gradual one. The Imram Brain shows, as has been 
said, hardly a trace of it, and is indeed scarcely an i7nram at all. 
But two different islands are visited, and the incidents of the sea 
voyage are not much dwelt on. It might almost as well be classed 
with the Other-World journeys as with the imravia. This is an 
important fact, as showing how idle it would be to hold that the 

^ Zimftier (I.e., p. 331) thinks the imrama were patterned in the first place 
after Virgil's jEneid. They arose, he says, in the seventh and eighth centuries in 
imitation of jEneas's voyage. 

2 Zimmer holds (I.e., p. 286) that the definite descriptions of the Earthly Para- 
dise found in medisval literature after the twelfth century are based largely on 
Celtic conceptions of the Other World. 

58 A. C. L. Brown. 

imrama could be essentially based on anything else than Celtic Other- 
World story. The Imram Brain is, indeed, a connecting link between 
the Other-World Journey and the imram. 

In the Mailduin the identification with the Earthly Paradise 
appears at several points. It is rather clumsily done, however, so 
that it is plain that the great body of the tale must go back to Celtic 
story. It is perfectly safe, therefore, to use the incidents in it, as 
well as those in the Bran, to throw light on the development which 
various themes found in the Serglige may have taken in Celtic 
literature before the time of Chretien. 

Besides the importance which the Voyage of Bran has as an illus- 
tration of the development of a journey into an imram, it is valuable 
also for the good description of the Other-World landscape that it 
contains. The story is very briefly this : 


A woman, a messenger from an unknown land, mysteriously appeared in 
Bran's house one day when the doors were closed and the house was full 
of chiefs and princes. She sang many verses describing her pleasant 
country (§ i) : 

There is a distant isle 

Around which sea-horses glisten. . . . 

Lovely land throughout the world's age, 

On which the many blossoms drop (§4). . . . 

An ancient tree there is with blossoms, 

On which birds call to the Hours.^ 

'T is in harmony, it is their wont 

To call together every Hour (§ 7). 

After inviting Bran to her land, the woman disappeared as suddenly as 
she had come (§ 31). 

1 Summarized from Kuno Meyer's translation, The Voyage of Bran, I, 1-35. 
Meyer has also edited the text (I.e., I, 1-35) from LU and later MSS. From 
considerations of language Meyer thinks (I, xvi) that it " was originally written 
down in the seventh century." To this period it had been previously assigned 
by Zimmer {Haupfs Zt., XXXIII, 261), though with some caution. A summary 
of the tale is given by Zimmer (I.e., pp. 257-261). 

2 Meyer (p. 6) notes that this must mean " the canonical Hours " and be " an 
allusion to church music." 



On the next day Bran chose his companions and put to sea. After 
sailing two days, they met Mananndn mac Lir driving his chariot across 
the ocean, which was for him a flowery plain (§§ 32-33). 

He, too, sang verses describing Mag Mell, which seems to He beneath 
the waves : 

Rivers pour forth a stream of honey 

In the land of Manannan, son of Ler (§ 36). . . . 

Though but one chariot rider is seen, 

In Mag Mell of many flowers. 

There are many steeds on its surface. 

Though thou seest them not (§ 39). . . 

Along the top of a wood has swum 

Thy coracle across ridges. 

There is a wood of beautiful fruit 

Under the prow of thy little skiff. 

A wood with blossom and fruit. 

On which is the vine's veritable fragrance ; 

A wood without decay, without defect. 

On which are leaves of golden hue (§§ 42-43). . . . 

Emne with many hues of hospitality 

Thou wilt reach before the setting of the sun (§ 60). 

After Bran parted from Manannan, he came to the Island of Laughter, 
where he lost one of his men, who landed and fell to laughing like the rest 
of the men on the island (§ 61). 

It was not long thereafter when they reached the Land of Women. 
There each man was provided with a partner in the usual manner. They 
remained there, supplied with all that they could desire, for what seemed 
to them a year. Then homesickness seized some of the men, and they 
persuaded Bran to depart (§§ 62-63). 

When their ship reached the shore of Ireland, they found that they had 
been gone for centuries (§ 64). One of the inen leaped from the coracle, 
but, as soon as he touched the earth of Ireland, he fell into a heap of ashes, 
as though he had been in the earth for many hundred years. ^ To the 

1 This supernatural lapse of time in the Other World appears in many Celtic 
tales. See for example the Echtra Nera, edited and translated by Stokes, Rev. 
Celt., X, 214 ff. It is preserved only in a fourteenth-century MS., but, as its title 
appears in the celebrated list of Irish tales in the Book of Leinster (p. 245, ^, 32 ff.), 
and as internal evidence is in favor of its having taken shape in very rude times, 
it is probably as old as the majority of the tales preserved in the oldest MSS. 
The story is that Nera left his people at a feast and entered a fairy hill {sid). 

6o A. C. L. Brown. 

people that assembled on the shore Bran told all his wanderings from the 
beginning until that time. And he wrote these quatrains in Ogam, and 
then bade them farewell. And from that hour his wanderings are not 
known (§§ 65-66). 

It will be seen that this tale does not differ essentially from the 
Echtra Condla. Both seem to draw from the same storehouse of Celtic 
fancy. The only distinct trace of Christian influence appears in the 
description of the Other-World landscape, where birds are said to 
sing " to the [canonical] Hours." 

In the Imram Mailduin, on the other hand, are found all the marks 
of the imram type. Older Celtic material has been worked up to 
form a tale of adventure comparable to those of other peoples : 


Maelduin determined to set out on the sea to search for his father's mur- 
derers. He was directed by a druid to take seventeen companions only, 
but at the last moment his three foster-brothers, who had not been included 
in the seventeen, begged to accompany him. When refused, they threw 
themselves into the sea and swam after the vessel. Out of pity Maelduin 
received them into his boat, but he was soon punished for disobeying the 
druid's injunction, because, though he speedily found the murderers in an 
The Island of the island, he was not able to slay them. A storm suddenly 
Murderers. came up and drove Maelduin's boat into =' the great 
boundless ocean" (§ i). 

The king of the sid assigned to him a single woman, with whom he dwelt and 
who conceived a son by him. After what seemed three days, he returned and 
found his people still around the same caldron, engaged in the same feast. 
He showed them the summer fruit of the sid in order to convince them of the 
truth of his tale, and then went back into the sid, " nor will he come out till the 
Day of Doom." 

The supernatural lapse of time appears in the Adventures of Teigue, and in 
Walter Map's tale of Herla. 

1 Summarized and quoted from the text and translation of Whitley Stokes, 
Rev. Celt., IX, 447-495 ; X, 50-95. The MS. for the greater part of the tale is 
LU. Zimmer {Haupfs Zt., XXXIII, 148) holds that the tale took shape in the 
eighth or ninth century. The possibility of alterations and additions having been 
made as late as the beginning of the eleventh century is, however, to be admitted. 
For a French translation, see d'Arbois, L'Epopie Celtique, I, 449-500 ; for one 
in German, Zimmer, I.e., pp. 150 ff. Cf. Nutt, Voyage of Bran, I, 163 f£. 

I wain. 6 1 

The Island of Enor- The first island they came to was inhabited by enor- 
mous Ants, mous ants (§ 2). 
„, , In the next island was a row of trees, and many great 

Huge Birds. 1.11 , 

birds on the trees. They slew and ate the birds (§ 3). 
When they came to the next island, they saw therein a beast hke a 

Horselike Monster. ^°'"^^- '^^^ ^^^s of a hound he had, with rough, sharp nails, 
and great was his joy at seeing them, for he longed to 
devour them and their boat (§ 4). 

In the next island they found enormous nuts and the 

emons rs s. t^.J^(;JJs pf monster horses that had been eating them (§ 5). 

Then they found an island having a great house, with a door above, and 

Empty Banquet ^ door into the sea, and against that door there was a valve 

Hall. of stone. This valve was pierced by an aperture, through 

which the sea waves were flinging the salmon into the midst of the house. 

Maelduin and his men entered that house, and therein they beheld a tes- 

tered bed for the chief of the house alone, and a bed for every three of his 

household, and food for every three before every bed, and a cup of glass 

on every vessel. So they dined off that food and liquor (§ 6). 

At the next island they found a cluster of three apples at the end of 
a rod. For forty nights each of those apples sufficed 

Wondrous Fruit. , 

them (§ 7). 

Thereafter they found another island, on which was " a huge beast," 

which raced round about the island swifter than the 
Racing Beast. ^^^^ (g g^. 

Then they found a lofty island on which " were many great animals like 

unto horses. Each of them would take a piece out of 

ig mg s . another's side, and carry it away with its skin and its flesh, 

so that out of their sides streams of crimson blood were breaking " (§ g). 

In the next island were " many trees full fruited with great golden 

apples." The fruit was devoured in the day time by " red 

ppes. animals like swine" and in the night by birds. Maelduin 

collected all the apples that were there. "Alike did the apples forbid 

hunger and thirst from them " (§ 10). 

Then they sighted an island " where stood a fort surrounded by a white, 
Treasure-House of high rampart as if it were built of burnt lime, or as if it 
the Cat. were all one rock of chalk. Great was its height from the 

sea : it all but reached the clouds. The fort was wide open. Round the 
rampart were great snow-white houses. When they entered the largest of 
these they saw no one there, save a small cat which was in the midst of the 
house, playing on the four stone pillars that were there." . . . After that 

62 A. C. L. Brown. 

they saw three rows on the wall of the house, consisting of brooches and 
neck torques and swords made of gold and silver. " A roasted ox moreover 
and a flitch in the midst of the house and great vessels of good, intoxicating 
liquor. ' Hath this been left for US?' saith Maelduin to the cat. It looked 
at him suddenly and began to play again. Then Maelduin recognised that 
it was for them that the dinner had been left. So they dined and drank 
and slept." When they were ready to go, Maelduin's third foster-brother 
took one of the necklaces. But he got no farther than the middle of the 
enclosure, for the cat followed and sprang " through him like a fiery arrow, 
and burnt him to ashes," and then went back till itvi^as on its pillar. Mael- 
duin soothed the cat with his words, and, setting the necklace again in its 
place, they departed (§ ii). 

They espied another island divided by a brazen palisade. All objects 
Black and vs^hite placed on one side of this became black, and those on the 

Island. other side became white (§ 12). 

Then they came to an island in which was a great mountain, " and they 
purposed to go and view the island from it. Now when the Rhymer and 
Germdn went to visit the mountain, they found before them 
"®^ ^^ ' a broad river, which was not deep. Into this river Ger- 
man dipped the handle of his spear, and at once it was consumed as if fire 
had burnt it.^ So they went no further. Then they saw on the other side 
of the river great hornless oxen lying down, and a huge man sitting by 
them, then Germdn after this struck his spear-shaft against his shield to 
frighten the oxen. 'Why dost thou frighten the silly calves?' saith that 
huge herdsman. 'Where are the dams of those calves?' saith Germdn. 
'They are on the other side of yonder mountain,' saith he. So they went 
thence" (§ 13). 
„ Thereafter they found an island with a great hideous 

Hideous Miller. •' ° 

mill, wherem was a huge hideous miller (§ 14). 
Then they came to the isle of wailing, where another of Maelduin's 
foster-brothers was lost. Four other companions who landed were directed 
,, . .. by Maelduin not to look at the land or the air, and to put 

Magic Air. . > f 

their garments round their noses and their mouths, and 
not to breathe the air of the island, lest they should be detained like 
the foster-brother (§ 15). 

Then they came to a lofty island divided into four parts. "A maiden 
went to meet them . . . and gave them food. They likened it to cheese ; 

1 In the Dutch poem Walewein there is a river of fire which has the appear- 
ance of water (see Paris, Romania, XII, 509). 

Iwain. 63 

and whatever taste was pleasing to any one he would find it therein. And 
„ . ,, „ she dealt liquor to them ... so that they slept. When 

Hospitable Hostess. > , . 

they awoke they were in their boat at sea. Nowhere did 
they see their island or their maiden" (§ 16). 

Then they found an island that had a fortress with a brazen door and a 
bridge of glass, and when they went upon this bridge they fell down back- 
island of the chaste wards. A woman came out of the fortress, pail in hand, 

Maiden. took water and returned to the fortress. " A housekeeper 

for Maelduin," said his men, but she scorned them, and when they struck 
the brazen door, it made a sweet soothing music, which sent them to sleep 
till the morrow. Three days and three nights were they in that wise. 
" On the fourth day the woman came to them, beautiful verily and wearing 
a white mantle with a circlet of gold round her golden hair. Two sandals 
of silver on her rosy feet. A brooch of silver with studs of gold in her 
mantle and a filmy silken smock next her white skin." She greeted each 
man by his name: " It is long since your coming here hath been known and 
understood." She took them into the house, she gave them food, " every 
savor that each desired he would find therein." His men urged Maelduin 
to offer himself to her, and proposed to her that she should show affection 
to him and sleep with him. But, saying that she knew not and had never 
known what sin was, she left them, promising an answer for the morrow. 
When they awoke, they were in their boat on a crag, and they saw not the 
island nor the fortress, nor the lady, nor the place where they had 
been (§ 1 7). 

"As they went from that place they heard in the northeast a great cry 

and chaunt, as it were a singing of psalms. That night and the next day 

till none thev were rowing that they might know what cry 

Chanting Birds. , / , , S,, ,. , u i.. i , . 

or chaunt they heard. They behold a high mountainous 
island full of birds, black and dun and speckled, shouting and speaking 
loudly" (§18). 

The next island contained many trees and birds and a man whose cloth- 
Trees and the Pil- ing was his hair. He said : " The birds which thou behold- 
grim. est in the trees are the souls of my children and my kindred, 

both men and women, who are yonder awaiting Doomsday " (§ 19). 

The next island "had a golden rampart about it." Therein they saw a 

man "whose raiment was the hair of his own body." There was also 

a marvellous fountain, which on Friday and Wednesday 

agic oun am. yj^y^ water, on Sundays milk, but on feast-days wine. 

They drank of this fountain, which " cast them into a heavy sleep till the 

morrow " (§ 20). 

64 A. C. L. Brown. 

Then they came to the island of the Savage Smiths, 

Savage Smiths. , , , , , ^ i ^t. x 

from which they fled (§ 21). 

Then they voyaged over a sea resembling green glass. " Such was its 

purity that the gravel and sand of the sea were clearly 

Sea of Glass. '^ ,f , , . „ ^„ s 

Visible through it" (§ 22). 

" They afterwards put forth into another sea like a cloud, and it seemed 

to them that it would not support them or the boat. Then they beheld 

under the sea down below them roofed strongholds and a 

Beast in Tree. . . , 

beautiful country. And they see a beast, huge, awful, mon- 
strous, in a tree there, and a drove of herds and ilocks round about the 
tree ; and beside the tree an armed man with shield and spear and sword. 
When he beheld yon huge beast that abode in the tree he goeth thence at 
once in flight. The beast stretched forth his neck out of the tree, and 
sets his head into the back of the largest ox of the herd and dragged it 
into the tree, and anon devours it in the twinkling of an eye. The flocks 
and the herdsman flee away at once " (§ 23). 

Thereafter they found an island around which rose the sea, making vast 
„, , „ , cliffs of water all about it. " As the people of that country 

Shouting People. *■ *• ^ 

perceived them they set to screaming at them and saying ; 
' It is they ! It is they ! ' till they were out of breath " (§ 24). 

, , Then they came to an island above which was an arch of 

Water Arch. •' 

water like a rainbow (§ 25). 

" Thereafter they voyaged till they found a great silver column. . . . 

And not a single sod of earth was about it, but only the boundless 

c., „ , ocean." From its summit hung a silver net, through a 

Silver Column. ® ' o 

mesh of which the boat went under sail. And Diurdn cut a 
piece from the net with his spear, saying: "I do this so that my tidings 
may be the more believed [when I reach Ireland] " (§ 26). 

" Then they see another island standing on a single pedestal,^ to wit, one 

foot supporting it, . . . and they saw down in the base of 

Subaqueous Door. i j , ■ 

the pedestal a closed door under lock. They understood 
that thai was the way by which the island was entered " (§ 27). 

1 It is possible that these islands rising like a pedestal or like a wall (of. § 11) 
were in the first place based on the exaggerated accounts of mariners. In Le 
Tour du Monde, supplement, A Travers le Monde, ^■aov., 1898, pp. 357-358, there 
is an account of an island called Rockall, which is situated in the Atlantic Ocean 
295 kilometres from any land (the British Isles), which suggests the descriptions 
of the imrama. This island consists of a single rock, 75 metres around, which 
rises like a pillar from the sea. It does not occur in any charts before the 
seventeenth century. 

I wain. 65 

After that they came to a large island, and there was a great plain 
therein, and on this a great table-land, heatherless but grassy and 
^u , , ,^, ■:, smooth. And near the sea was a fortress, large, high, and 

The Isle of Maidens. ' & ' to j 

Strong, and a great house therein, adorned, and with good 
couches. Seventeen grown-up girls were there preparing a bath. When 
the wanderers saw this Maelduin felt sure the bath was for them. But 
there rode up a dame with a bordered purple mantle, gold-embroidered 
gloves on her hands, on her feet adorned sandals. She alighted, entered 
the fortress, and went to bathe. One of the damsels then welcomed the 
seafarers. " ' Come into the court : the queen invites you.' So they 
entered the fort, and they all bathed. The queen sat on one side of the 
house and her seventeen girls about her. Maelduin sat on the other side, 
over against the queen, with his seventeen men around him." Food and 
drink were served to them, and at nightfall the eighteen couples paired off, 
Maelduin sleeping with the queen. On the morrow she urged them to stay : 
" Age will not fall on you but the age that ye have attained. And lasting 
life ye shall have always : and what came to you last night shall come to 
you every night without any labour." Maelduin asked who she was, and 
she answered "wife of the king of the island, to whom she had borne seven- 
teen daughters ; at her husband's death she had taken the kingship of the 
island ; and unless she go to judge the folk every day what happened the 
night before would not happen again." Maelduin and his men stayed three 
months, " and it seemed to them that those three months were three years." 
The men murmured and urged Maelduin to depart, and reproached him 
with the love he bore the queen, and one day, when she was at the judging, 
they took out the boat and would sail off. But she rode after them, and 
flung a clew which Maelduin caught, and it cleaved to his hand ; by this 
means she drew them back to land. Thrice this happened, and the men 
accused Maelduin of catching the clew purposely. He told off another 
man to mind the clew, whose hand, when touched by it, was cut off by one 
■of the seafarers. So in that wise they escaped (§ 28). 

Then they came to an island with trees bearing marvellous berries. 

Maelduin drank some of the juice of the berries, which 
Trees with Berries. ^^^^^ j^.^ .^^^ ^ ^^^p ^j^^p ^U, ^^^ morning. He said : 

« Gather ye this fruit, for great is its excellence " (§ 29). 

Then they landed on an island where was a wood of yews and great oaks. 

Here they found great herds of sheep, a church, and an ancient cleric. Here, 

too, they saw an ancient eagle renewing its youth by bathing 

e of Yout . .^ ^ j^^^ Diurin also bathed in the lake, and he never suf- 
fered weakness or infirmity from that time forth so long as he lived (§ 30). 

66 A. C. L. Brown. 

Then they came to the Isle of Laughter, where the last 
Island of Laughter. ^^ Maelduin's three foster-brothers was lost (§31). 

" After that they sighted another island, which was not large, and a 
fiery rampart was round about it, and that rampart used to revolve round 
the island. There was an open doorway in the side of the 
Fiery Revolving rampart. Now whenever the doorway would come in its 
revolution opposite to them, they used to see the whole 
island, and all that was therein, and all its indwellers, even human 
beings, beautiful, abundant, wearing adorned garments, and feasting with 
golden vessels in their hands.'' And the wanderers listened to their ale- 
music (§ 32). 

Then they came to the island of the hermit of Torach (§ 33). 

They followed the direction in which they saw a falcon fly, and at length 
they sighted land like the land of Ireland. It was the small island on 
which they had found the murderers at the first. But Maelduin was now 
reconciled to them, and he returned to his own district in Ireland and declared 
his adventures (§ 34). 

It has seemed necessary to outline very fully this charming voyage 
story, in order to bring out with fairness its curious character. Some 
incidents are plainly drawn from Christian tradition,^ but in the case 
of only one island (§ ig) is there a definite attempt made at identi- 
fication with the Earthly Paradise where the souls of the just await 
the Day of Judgment. The Christian and pagan materials are not 
thoroughly worked together, and it is easy to see, by comparison 
with the older Celtic tales already studied, that most of the material 
comes straight, as Zimmer thinks, from the mass of Irish Other-World 
lore. A study of this imram, therefore, ought It) throw light on the 
development which the various incidents of the Other-World journey 
may have taken before the time of Chrdtien. 

In the Imram Mailduin, the idea of a single expedition to the 
Other World and return, as in the Imram Brain and in all the older 
stories, has been lost sight of. The compiler has either attached 
together several already existing variants of the same story, or else 
he or some preceding transcriber has divided up the adventures of 
a single Journey of Wonders, and the furniture of a single Other 

1 Traces of Christian influence appear in §§ 18, 19, 20, 30, 33, and 34. 

I wain. 67 

World, among a number of different islands,^ with the object of 
increasing the number of different adventures in his story. This 
point has been already made by Alfred Nutt, who sees a visit to the 
Other World not only in § 28 (The Isle of Maidens) but in § 17 (The 
Isle of the Chaste Maiden), which is, he maintains, a variant of 
the same episode. He also finds part of the gear of the Other 
World elsewhere in the story, and concludes that we are justified in 
making use of the several versions to recover the " original idea of 
Damsel Land as it existed in the material from which our story was 
drawn." He sees in § 32 (The Isle of the Fiery Revolving Ram- 
part), for example, a part of the Other-World incident. It is tolerably 
clear, I think, that §§ 6 and 11 ought to be added to this list. 
In § 6 (The Empty Banquet Hall) we have a palace in which food is 
served by invisible means, — a well-established form of the Other- 
World story.'' In § 1 1 (The Treasure-House of the Cat) there is the 
same empty palace, but it is guarded by a mysterious cat. 

It is interesting to find the several repetitions of the Other-World 
story (§§ 6, 11, 17, 28, 32) arranged at tolerably equal intervals in 
the order of islands visited. This can be conveniently shown by plac- 
ing the successive incidents in parallel columns as on pp. 68, 69. 

. A glance at this arrangement of the incidents of the Mailduin will 
show that, as § 28 is the longest and most characteristic description 
of the Other World, so, too, the adventures leading up to this capital 
episode are the most numerous and the most detailed. It appears, 
therefore, that this part of the tale (§§ 18-28) is either the original 
kernel of the whole, or else perhaps the most complete of several 
variants which have been put together to make up that whole. The 
incidents of this portion of the Mailduin should therefore form a 
basis for comparison. 

If, now, we compare column IV with columns I, II, III, and V, a 
certain paralleHsm is discoverable. In all of the columns, except 

■■ The manner in which a new island is brought in at every turn suggests the 
invention of a single transcriber who had a new idea and developed it con amore 
in the mediaeval manner. 

2 Connla was promised "perpetual feasts without preparation," and at 
Labraid's isle in the Serglige there was a never-failing cask of mead. 


A. C. L. Brown. 



Island of the Mur- 


Enormous Ants. 


Wondrous Fruit. 


Huge Birds. 


Black and White Isle. 


Racing Beast. 


Horselike Monster. 


Fighting Horses. 


Huge Herdsman. 


Demons' Horses. 


Hideous Miller. 


Golden Apples. 


Magic Air. 
Hospitable Hostess. 


Empty Banquet 


Treasure-House of 


Isle of the Chaste 


the Cat. 


Ill, marvellous birds or trees are encountered. In all, except col- 
umn V, fighting beasts of one kind or another appear. In several of 
the columns, a difificult passage of some kind, such as a subaqueous 
door or a revolving rampart, is described. It is natural to conclude 
that these three themes, which recur over and over again in different 
shapes, must have been, like the love-making motive, stock incidents 
of the Celtic Other-World Journey. Otherwise it is not easy to 
explain why the compiler of this imram should have introduced them 
in so many forms. 

The first of these three themes may be called that of the Other- 
World Landscape. We have already met it in the Serglige and in 
the Imram Brain. The " great chaunt of birds," in § i8, " as it were 
a-singing psalms," reminds us of the birds calling to the canonical 
Hours in the Imram Brain. Much light is thrown on this incident 
by § 19, where are described trees full of birds that are the souls of 
men. It is absurd to find ordinary birds singing psalms, but for 
transformed souls this would be natural. We may be sure, therefore, 
that the birds in § 18 were originally one with those in § 19, and, 
like them, souls in bird shape. The separation must have been 
made by a stupid transcriber, anxious to increase the number of 
islands visited. In § 20 there is a marvellous fountain which yields 
milk on Sundays. Of course it is here a Christian marvel, but if we 
remember the " noble well " hard by the tree with singing birds in 

I wain. 




The Chanting Birds. 


The Trees and the Pilgrim. 


Trees with Magic Fruit. 


Magic Fountain. 


Lake of Youth. 


Savage Smiths. 


The Sea of Glass. 


The Beast in the Tree. 


Shouting People. 


The Isle of Laughter. 


The Water Arch. 


The Silver Column. 


Subaqueous Door. 


The Isle of Maidens. 


The Revolving Rampart. 

the Serglige, it seems certain that this Christian fountain has been 
substituted for the Other-World Fountain. Making proper allow- 
ances, therefore, for the way in which the transcriber of this imram 
has divided up his material, we see in the scenery of these three 
islands a parallel to the tree with birds who do -' lor servise" beside 
the Fountain Perilous in the Ivain. 

The beast-like herdsman guarding cattle, in § 23 of the Mailduin, 
suggests the giant herdsman of the Tvain. 

The third motive, that of the Perilous Passage, appears, as has 
been said, in the subaqueous door, in the revolving rampart, and, it 
may be added, in the brazen door of § 17, which, when struck, put 
Maelduin's men to sleep. It may be suggested that this danger, just 
at the entrance of the Other World, has been rationalized into the 
falling gates of the Ivain. 

It is clear from what has been said that we have in the imrama 
important materials for the study of the Other- World Journey. For 
convenience, the different motives just outlined will be taken up 
one by one. Perhaps that of the Giant Herdsman should be dis- 
cussed first, since it seems not to have been preserved except in the 

yo A. C. L. Brown. 

CHAPTER IV {Continued). 


IV. The Giant Herdsman Motive. 

It will be remembered that, in the Ivain^ Calogrenant, after part- 
ing from the Hospitable Host, came upon wild and savage bulls 
fighting with such fierceness in the forest that he was fain to draw 
back and avoid them. He encountered, however, a monstrous and 
hideous churl, who resembled a Moor, and was so ugly, in fact, that 
he could not be described. This creature sat on a stump, holding a 
great club in his hand. He had a head larger than that of a horse 
and mossy ears the size of an elephant's. He had the eyes of an 
owl, the nose of a cat, his mouth was cleft like that of a wolf, and 
his boar's teeth were sharp and red. He leaned on his club and 
did not speak to Calogrenant any more than a beast would do. 
His only movement, as Calogrenant approached, was to mount upon 
a tree trunk. Naturally Calogrenant's first words to this creature 
were to ask him what he was. He replied that he was a man and 
was guarding these beasts of the forest. Calogrenant expressed 
doubts about any man's being able to control such savage creatures. 
The monster replied that he could seize one of the bulls by the horns 
in such a way that all the others would tremble for fear and would 
gather round as if toinj^lore mercy; in this way he controlled the 
beasts. Calogrenant then asked the giant herdsman to direct him 
to some adventure. The herdsman obligingly described the adven- 
ture of the Founta,in Perilous and showed the path that led thither. 

This strange episode is plainly not the invention of Chretien." 
No one, however, has before pointed out exactly why it appears in 

1 Ivain, vv. 278-409. 

2 So Baist has expressed himself {Zt.f. rom. Phil., XXI, 402-405). He has, 
moreover, compared § 13 of the Mailduin, but he has not noticed the parallels in 
§§ 4) 5i 9i and 23, nor has he explained how this adventure came to find its way 
into the Ivain. 

I wain. 71 

the Ivain. I believe it to have been a stock incident of the Other- 
World Journey. The object of the giant herdsman is to point out the 
way to the Other World, i.e. to Laudine's castle. Chretien has 
retained, almost without attempt at rationalization, one of the adven- 
tures of the type of Celtic story that we are studying. It is true 
that this theme does not occur in the Serglige, the norm for our com- 
parisons, but it has left so many traces in the Imram Mailduin that 
we may feel confident that it was a stock incident. 

The distinctive features of this adventure in the Ivain may be 
summed up thus : (i) a hideous beast-like giant, (2) who is perched 
upon a tree trunk, (3) is guarding a herd of animals. These (4) are 
not ordinary cattle, but savage beasts who fight each other arro- 
gantly ; yet (5) the monster herdsman is able to seize any one of 
them in a terrible way. (6) He points out to the traveller the road 
to a marvellous land. 

In § 23 of the Mailduin, there is an adventure which unites 
features i, 2, 3, and 5, and thus forms a striking parallel to the 
Ivain: "a beast, huge, awful, monstrous, in a tree, and a drove of 
herds and flocks round about the tree." " The beast stretched forth 
his neck out of the tree, and set his head into the back of the largest 
ox of the herd and dragged it into the tree and anon devoured it in 
the twinkling of an eye." -^ It is to be noted that this creature is 
seen in the Land beneath the Waves, that is, in the Other World. 

1 Compare the description of the herdsman in the Ivain (vv. 288 ff.) : 

Un vilaih qui resanbloit mor, 
Grant et hideus a desmesure 
(Einsi tres leide creature, 
Qu'an ne porroit dire de boche), 
Vi je seoir sor une goche, 
Une grant mague an sa main. 
Je m'aprochai vers le vilain, 
Si vi qu'il ot grosse la teste 
Plus que roncins ne autre beste, 
Chevos meschiez et front pele, 
S'ot plus de deus espanz de le, 
Oroilles mossues et granz 
Auteus com a uns olifanz, 
Les sorciz granz et le vis plat, 
lauz de choete et nes de chat, 

*J2 A. C. L. Brow7i. 

To this incident of § 23 (in column IV) there is so striking a 
parallel in § 13 (column III) that we cannot doubt that they are 
variants of the same motive. In § 23 there are parallels to features 
I, 3, and 6 of the adventure in the Ivain, The herdsman is here 
described as " a huge man " guarding "great hornless oxen." He 
gives the travellers information about the way, just as the Giant 
Herdsman directs Calogrenant and Iwain. Here again the creature 

Boche fandue come los, 

Danz de sangler aguz et ros, 

Barbe noire, grenons tortiz, 

Et le manton aers au piz, 

Longue eschine, torte et bogue. . . . 

Et fu montez desor un tronc, 

S'ot bien dis et set piez de lone ; 

Si m'esgarda et mot ne dist 

Ne plus qu'une beste fe'i'st ; 

Et je cuidai que il n'eiist 

Reison ne parler ne seiist. 

That the herdsman was as much like a beast as a man is apparent, not only 
from this description, but from the reflections of Iwain (vv. 794 £f.): 

Si vit les tors et le vilain 
Qui la voie li anseigna ; 
Mes plus de gant foiz se seigna 
De la mervoille que il ot, 
Comant Nature feire sot 
Oevre si leide et si vilainne. 

The fact that the guardian of the herd is called a " beast " in the Mailduin 
does not therefore injure the parallel. 

It is not said in the Ivain that the creature could devour one of his cattle, but 
his description of his own powers is not unlike the words of the Mailduin 

(vv. 344 ff-): 

N'i a cell qui s'ost movoir 
Des qu'eles me voient venir. 
Car quant j'an puis une tenir, 
Si la destraing par les deus corz 
As poinz que j'ai et durs et forz, 
Que les autres de peor tranblent 
Et tot anviron moi s'asanblent 
Aussi con por merci cri'er ; 
Ne nus ne s'i porroit fier 
Fors moi, s'antr'eles s'estoit mis, 
Que maintenant ne fust ocis. 
Einsi sui de mes bestes sire. 

I wain. 72 

seems to be in the Other World. He is beyond a river that burns 
anything dipped in it as if it were a stream of fire. 

Having thus found variants of this motive in two ^ of the columns 
(HI and IV) of our Maildiim table, we are perhaps justified in 
regarding the fighting beasts of columns I and II as indistinct sur- 
vivals or variants of the same theme. In §§ 4 and 5 (column I) are 
described monstrous beasts "like horses, having the legs of a hound 
with rough sharp nails." They are evidently ferocious, like the bulls in 
the Ivain,^ for " they long to devour the travellers and their boat." 

A closer parallel, however, to the fighting bulls of the Ivain is 
found in § 9 (column II), where the travellers see "many great 
animals like unto horses " which were fighting each other. " Each 
would take a piece out of another's side, and carry it away with its 
skin and its flesh, so that out of their sides streams of crimson blood 
were breaking." In this account and that in column I the animals 
are described as "horselike." Their actions, however, are not 
those of horses, and probably this adjective does not mark them off 
significantly from the cattle of §§ 13 and 23. 

The six distinguishing features of the Giant Herdsman motive in 
the Ivain are thus all found in the older Imram Mailduin. They do not 

1 That this method of operation is justified will, I think, be admitted by any 
one who studies the case of what I have called the Other-World landscape motive. 
From the fact that singing birds appear in § 18 of the Mailduin, a marvellous 
tree in § 19, and a magic fountain in § 20, it was conjectured that these three 
features must (in the more primitive Other-World tales from which the Mailduin 
has been built up) have been united to form one landscape like that in the 
Serglige. This at first thought somewhat daring process turns out to be entirely 
justified, for in the Navigatio Brendani, which must go back to Celtic imrama, 
these three features, the birds, the tree, and the fountain, are found united in 
exactly the way assumed. 

^ The description in the Ivain runs thus (vv. 280 if.) : 

Tors sauvages et espaarz 
Qui s'antrecombatoient tuit 
Et demenoient si grant bruit 
Et tel fiert^ et tel orguel, 
Se le voir center vos an vuel, 
Que de paor me tres arriere ; 
Que nule beste n'est plus fiere 
Ne plus orguelleuse de tor. 

74 A. C. L. Brown. 

all, to be sure, occur united in one incident, but enough of them are 
found so joined to make the parallel hold good. Everything, there- 
fore, seems to indicate that this is a stock episode of the Celtic 
Other- World Journey,^ which has been preserved by Chrdtien in his 
Ivain, with but little change from its more primitive form. 

1 An illustration of this character of the incident seems to be found in the 
Echtra Thaidg mheic Chein, an Irish Other-World tale preserved only in a 
fifteenth-century MS. I will summarize this tale, utilizing O'Grady's transla- 
tion, Silva Gadelica, II, 385-401 (text, I, 343-359) '■ 

Teigue and his companions came to an island where they found no signs of 
human habitation, but only flocks of sheep. " The size of these creatures was 
unutterable ; they were not less than horses of the largest [kind]." " One parlous 
great flock in particular they found there, of gigantic rams [of] which a single 
special one exceeded all : nine horns bedecked him, and on the heroes he charged 
violently butting." Teigue and his men had a battle with these rams. [It is 
possible, of course, that the likeness between these animals and those of the 
Mailduin is due to chance ; but, as these beasts are described as horselike and 
as fierce creatures engaged in fighting, it is likely that we have here traces of the 
motive found in the Mailduin and in the Ivain?\ 

After leaving this island, Teigae and his men came to a beautiful land where it 
was summer, though at that time it was winter in Ireland. "Extraordinary was 
the amenity of the spot to which they now attained, but they left it and happened 
on a wood. Great was the excellence of its scent. Round purple berries hung 
on it . . . Birds, beautiful, brilliant, feasted on these grapes. As they fed they 
warbled music and minstrelsy, that was melodious and superlative, to which 
patients of every kind and the repeatedly wounded would have fallen asleep." 

Going on from this spot, they found on the first hill " a white-bodied lady," 
"the fairest of the world's women"; on the second hill "a queen of gracious 
form draped in a vesture of golden fabric," and on the third hill a noble pair, a 
youth and a maid. It was Connla, son of Conn of the Hundred Battles, and the 
maid was " the young woman of many charms " that brought him hither. Connla 
" held in his hand a fragrant apple having the color of gold ; a third part of it he 
would eat and still, for all he consumed, never a whit would it be diminished. 
This fruit it was that supported the pair of them, and when once they had par- 
taken of it neither age nor dimness could affect them." They now entered " a 
jocund house with a silver floor." " Gems of crystal and carbuncle were set in 
the wall in such wise that with flashing of these precious stones day and night 
alike were bright there." " Then three birds enter to them into the house and 
perch on the thickly-furnished, wide-spreading apple tree that was in the court 
of the house. The birds eat an apple apiece and warble melody and harmony 
such that the sick would sleep to it." At length Teigue spoke of returning 

Twain. 75 

CHAPTER IV {Continued). 


V. The Perilous Passage. 

In the Serglige there was a perilous passage on the way to Labraid's 
isle. Fand declared to Loeg that he would not escape alive unless a 
woman protected him ; therefore, we are told, Liban put her hand on 
his shoulder. There are in the Mailduin many indications that a 
dangerous passage of some kind must have been a stock incident of 
the Other-World journey. When the voyagers came to the Island 
of the Chaste Maiden (§ 17), which is, as has been pointed out, a 
variant of an original Other-World episode, they found a bridge of 
glass and a bronze door. Whoever stepped upon the bridge of glass 
fell backward,'' and whoever struck the brazen door was put to sleep 
till the morrow by the sweet music that it made. After two days of 
vain attempt the travellers are escorted through this mysterious 
passage by a woman. ^ 

to his land. " These birds will go with you," said the lady. " They will give 
you guidance and make you symphony and minstrelsy, and till again ye reach Ire- 
land neither by land nor by sea shall sadness or grief afflict you." They thought 
they had been in the island but a day. They found that it had been a year. 
They set sail, and after some adventures returned to Ireland. 

1 Cuchulinn on his way to Scathach's abode (Scathach, " the shadowy one," is 
evidently an Other- World creature) had to pass a bridge that was low at both 
ends, high in the middle, and so constructed that when a man stepped on the one 
end the other end would rise aloft, and he would be thrown down. See Rhys, 
Hib. Led., p. 451, quoting from the Tochmarc Emere, and Hall, Cuchullin Saga, 
p. 75. This is a variant of the well-known "Bridge of Dread " motive. 

'^ Rhys, Arthurian Legend, p. 303, has not noticed this parallel, but he has 
compared the passage in the Serglige with Peredur's entrance into a revolving 
castle in the Welsh Seint Greal (ed. Williams, pp. 325-326; translation, p. 649). 
Peredur is escorted into this castle by a damsel, who goes before him, carrying 
his shield and his spear, to warrant him. This same incident, of course, is found 
in the prose Perceval (ed. Potvin, I, 196), and may possibly be a survival of the 

76 A. C. L. Browfi. 

The locked and apparently subaqueous door in Mailduin (§ 27) 
has been spoken of. It was seen just before the travellers reached 
the Isle of Maidens or the Happy Other World. When one recol- 
lects that in the Tale of Loegaire entrance to the Other World was 
effected by diving into the loch, and that Terror in Fled Brier end, 
who is a mere duplicate of Curoi, departed after the head-cutting 
contest into the loch, it seems likely that we have in this door a 
surviving trace of a perilous under-water passage.-' 

Obviously the revolving rampart of fire in Mailduin (§ 32), through 
a doorway in which, whenever it came opposite to them, the voyagers 
could see a land of marvellous splendor, is a variant, of the Perilous- 
Passage motive. The beauty of the inhabitants seen within, their 
adorned garments, their perpetual feasting from golden vessels, and 
their far-prevailing music make the Other- World character of the 
place unmistakable. The revolving castle of the Fled Bricrend, in 
which Curoi lived with his wife Blathnat, must also be regarded, as 
has been said, as an Other-World fortress. There are, then, in the 
most ancient Irish documents, two clear cases of the attribution of a 
revolving palisade to the Other World.'' 

motive appearing in Loeg's protection by Liban in the Serglige. The kind words 
of praise addressed by Bldthnat to Cuchulinn in the Fled Bricrend, after he has 
leaped into the revolving castle of her husband, should be remembered. In a 
modern tale, The Bare Stripping Hangman ( Waifs and Strays of Celtic Tradition, 
III, 96-97), the hero, in distress at the castle of a giant, is rescued by the sister of 
the heroine, who takes him into the castle through an iron door in the wall and 
heals his wounds. (It will be remembered that Liban is sister to Fand.) 

1 The incident of reaching a land beneath the waves is common enough (see, 
for example, a tale of modern Brittany, Rev. Celt., II, 308). An instance not 
before compared is in the Romance of Reinbroun (preserved in the Auchinleck 
MS., which dates from 1327), ed. Zupitza, E.E.T.S., sts. 80 ff. Reinbroun rides 
through a gate into a hill. The gate is shut and he rides half a mile in darkness. 
He comes to a palace surrounded by a broad water. He plunges, horse and all, 
into the water and goes to the bottom, thirty yards over helm, but reaches the 
palace at last. No one grows old there. 

2 Of course this does not prove that the incident was an invention of the Celts. 
Compare Hugo's palace at Constantinople, which, according to the Journey of 
Charlemagne, revolved on its axis by the operation of the wind (Child, Ballads, 
I, 276). Cf. also Chaucer, Hous of Fame, iii, 1918 ff., where the house of 
DjEdalus is said to revolve. 

Iivaiti. J J 

There is a Welsh poem in the Book of Taliessin ^ called The Victims 
of the Other World which gives us reason to believe that this con- 
ception of a revolving barrier or a dangerous gateway at the entrance 
of the Other World was well known to the Welsh also. This 
poem, which is expressed in the obscure language of the early 
bards, tells of a voyage made by Arthur to Annwn for the purpose 
of rescuing the captive Gwair.= Like the Irish Other World, Annwn 
is regarded as an island lying beyond the sea : 


I will praise the sovereign, supreme king of the land. 

Who hath extended his dominion over the shore of the world. 

Complete was the prison of Gweir* in Caer Sidi,^ 

Through the spite of Pwyll and Pryderi. 

No one before him went into it. 

The heavy blue chain held the faithful youth, 

And before the spoils of Annwvn woefully he sings, 

And till doom shall continue a bard of prayer. 

Thrice enough to fill Prydwen we went into it ; 

Except seven none returned from Caer Sidi. 

1 This MS. dates from the early part of the fourteenth century (Skene, Four 
Books, I, 3). As the poem bears no traces of the influence of French romance, it 
is fair to infer that it is based on early Welsh conceptions. 

2 This explanation is given by Stephens, Zzy(?ra^«« of the Kymry, p. 273, where 
also a text and a translation of the poem maybe found (pp. 183-190). I have 
followed the later and more accurate translation in Skene. 

^Quoted from Skene, Four Books, I, 264-266; for the text, see II, 1S1-182. 
* There is a triad {Myv. Arch., p. 80, 1. 30, quoted by Stephens, Lit. of the 
Kyviry, p. 190) that mentions the captivity of the family of Gair ap Geirion, lord 
of Geirionydd, as one of the three closest ever known. 

5 Caer Sidi is mentioned also in another poem of the Book of Taliessin 
(No. xiv), part of which runs thus (Taliessin is the speaker) : 
Complete is my chair in Caer Sidi, 

No one will be afflicted with disease or old age that may be in it. 
It is known to Manawd and Pryderi. 
Three utterances, around the fire, will he sing before it. 
And around its borders are the streams of Ocean, 
And the fruitful fountain is above it. 
Is sweeter than white wine the liquor therein (Skene, I, 276 ; text, II, 154). 

78 A. C. L. Browft. 


Am I not a candidate for fame, if a song is heard ? 

In Caer Pedryvan,* four its revolutions ; 

In the first word from the cauldron when spoken, 

From the breath of nine maidens it was gently warmed. 

Is it not the cauldron of the chief of Annwvn ? What is its intention ? 

A ridge about its edge of pearls. 

It will not boil the food of a coward, that has not been sworn, 

A sword bright gleaming to him was raised. 

And in the hand of Lleminawg it was left 

And before the door of the gate of Ufiern ^ the lamp was burning. 

And when we went with Arthur, a splendid labour. 

Except seven, none returned from Caer Vedwyd.^ 


Am I not a candidate for fame with the listened song? 
In Caer Pedryvan, in the isle of the strong door ? 
The twilight and pitchy darkness were mixed together. 
Bright wine their liquor before their retinue. 
Thrice enough to fill Prydwen we went on the sea, 
Except seven none returned from Caer Rigor.* ' 


I shall not deserve much from the ruler of literature, 
Beyond Caer Wydyr they saw not the prowess of Arthur. 
Three score Canhwr stood on the wall. 
Difficult was a conversation with its sentinel. 

From a comparison of these lines it will be seen that Caer Sidi is a Land 
of Youth surrounded by the sea. It is connected with the Other-World power 
Manawyddan ( = Manawd), and with Pwyll and Pryderi. This is consistent with 
the Mabinogi, Pwyll Prince of Dyvet, which calls Pwyll "Prince of Annwn." 
Pryderi is his son and successor. Rhys, Arthurian Legend, p. 301, connects 
Sidi with the Welsh sidyll, "a spinning wheel," and translates Caer Sidi by 
" revolving castle." 

1 " The quadrangular enclosure " : Stephens. 

2 "Hell": Stephens. 

8 " The enclosure of the perfect ones " : Stephens. " The Castle of Revelry ": 
Rhys, Arthurian Legend, p. 301. 

* " The enclosure of the royal party " : Stephens. 



Thrice enough to fill Prydwen^ there went with Arthur, 
Except seven none returned from Caer Golud. 

Although in this poem Annwn is once called Ufern ("hell"), yet 
it has in the main the well-known characteristics of the Celtic Happy 
Other World. It contains a magic cauldron that presumably fur- 
nishes inexhaustible food, and the inhabitants are described as 
" drinking the bright wine." It is also called " The Enclosure of the 
Perfect Ones." That it can be entered by a difficult gateway only, 
is evident. It is called "The Island of the Strong Door" and is 
said to be " four times revolving." 

It is perfectly clear, then, that a revolving barrier, or an active 
door of some kind,^ was a widespread motive of Celtic Other- World 

1 The text of this refrain runs : " Tri Uoneit prytweri yd aeth gan arthur." I 
venture to suggest that this peculiar expression refers to a. magic quality of the 
ship Prytwenn, by virtue of which it could contain any number, however great. 
It is the ship in which Arthur journeys to the Other World. It is usual in Celtic 
tales for the ship that takes the hero to the Land beyond the Waves to be the 
gift of afh, and of a marvellous character, often having the property of folding up 
or expanding. See Harvard Studies and Notes, VII, 199, note i, where I have 
cited many references to boats of this sort. A typical example is in Curtin, Hero- 
Tales of Ireland, p. 249, where a staff thrown into the sea becomes a ship. It can 
be " put back into a staff again " and borne in the hand. It will be remembered 
that Arthur was finally carried off to Avalon in a mysterious ship. Prytwenn is 
probably the same sort of ship as the boat of glass that carried oft Connla, which 
apparently could accomplish any distance before night, and as the bronze boat 
that ferried Loeg over to Labraid's isle. Doubtless, like Arthur's sword Cali- 
burnus (Geoffrey, Historia, IX, 4), it was brought from Avalon. Layamon 
(vv. 22,736 ff.) ascribes to Arthur a magical table ; Geoffrey, I.e., ascribes to him 
not only the sword Calibumus, but a marvellous lance Ron and a shield Priwen ; 
while in Kulhwch and Olwen (Rhys and Evans, Jied Book of Hergest, I, 105) 
there is a considerable list of belongings, including Prytwenn, ascribed to Arthur. 
These objects all have names and are treated as very valuable. They are 
probably all magical. This at least is the conclusion to which analogy leads. 
See the list of magical things given by Manannan to Lugh (above, p. 42, note), 
among which is a sword very much resembling Calibumus. There is no ship in 
the list, but there is a horse that travels equally well by land and sea. Doubtless 
he fills the place of a ship as a means of reaching the Other World. 

2 In Laistner, Das Rdtsel der Sphinx, Berlin, 1889, I, 263, there is mentioned, 
as an obstacle on the way to the Other World, a door that ever slams to and fro. 
This reference I owe to Professor Kittredge. 

8o A. C. L. Brown. 

story. A priori, therefore, we have reason to believe that it must 
have been present in the material that Chretien used when he was 
writing his Ivain. What could he do with the motive, supposing he 
decided to keep it at all ? Would he not naturally rationalize it into 
the familiar portcullis, to be seen at every castle gate? This I 
believe to have been the origin of the sharp iron portcullis in the 
Ivain, that descended, " aussi con deables d'anfer" (v. 944), behind 
the hero and cut his steed in two.^ In view of the numerous 

1 An interesting parallel that should be quoted at this point, because it appears 
to show this motive at an intermediate stage of development, is the story of La 
Mule sans Frein (Meon, Nouveau Recueil de Fabliaux, I, I ff.). This is a French 
poem and was written about the year 1 200, but its similarity to the kind of Other- 
World story that has been studied above is so great that its essential dependence 
on Celtic tradition can hardly be denied : 

A damsel, riding a mule without a bridle, came to Arthur's court and asked 
for the help of a knight to recover her bridle for her. Kay set out first, and his 
unsuccessful attempt is contrasted with the victorious exploit of the hero Gawain, 
in the same way that the failures of Loegaire and Conall are set off against the 
success of Cuchulinn in the Fled Bricrend. Gawain rode over a bridge consisting 
of a single narrow iron bar which spanned a terrible river, and found a narrow 
path leading to a castle. A broad water encircled the castle. The walls were 
decked with the heads of former adventurers, set upon spikes, and but one spike 
was empty. The castle was always turning like a mill-wheel or a top. Gawain 
spurred the mule, and made a rush for the gate as it came round. The mule got 
through with the loss of half her tail. There was a vilain in the castle, black as 
a. Moor, who played the beheading game with Gawain. When Gawain had come 
off successfully from this and other tests, he was entertained by a lady, sister to 
the Damsel of the Mule. She would fain have persuaded Gawain to remain with 
her and be her lord and lord of all her castles. But Gawain refused, took the 
bridle, and departed. 

If the revolving-castle motive, which we know to have been a part of Celtic 
stories of the Journey to the Other World, had reached a form like this before 
it came to the hands of Chretien, how easy it would have been for him to 
change the cutting in two of the mule's tail into the more thrilling incident of 
the horse and the portcullis ! 

The resemblance between La Mule sans Frein and the Fled Bricrend \s obvious. 
In both there is a turning castle, and in both an ugly black giant who proposes 
the head-cutting game. When the heroes first visited Curoi in the Fled Bricrend, 
it will be remembered that they fell into a magic mist that caused them to lose 
their way. A parallel to this incident occurs in a turning-castle episode in 
Wigalois (ed. Pfeiffer, Leipzig, 1847, cols. 173-181, vv. 6714-7053). The hero, in 

Twain. g j 

parallels to this development in modern Celtic stories quoted in the 
notes, this view appears highly probable, if not quite certain. 

overcoming the enchanter R6az (a parallel figure to Curoi), was obliged to pass 
through a treacherous magic mist. He then came to a marble gate, before 
which ran a water-wheel upon an iron track: 

Des ein rat von ere pflac : 

daz lief umbe vor dem tor 

uf tsentnen siulen enbor. 

ez treip ein wazzer daz was groz : 

durch daz fQle mos ez floz (vv. 6775 ff.). 

The wheel was set with sharp swords and clubs. Wigalois at last entered the 
tower and was obliged to fight with a monster, half man, half horse, called 
" Marrien," before the fiercer conflict against Roaz took place. On a pillar before 
the castle gate was a marvellous shining gem. There is a revolving castle which 
Gawain enters on horseback in Diu Kr6ne, by Heinrich von dem Turlin (ed. 
SchoU, vv. 12,951 ff.), and also a giant who changes semblance in an extraordinary 

Revolving castles are rather common in modern Celtic Other-World tales. 
The modern tale of CualUn has been already cited (Cnrtin, Myths and Folk-Lorc 
of Irela?id, pp. 304-326). The tale of Young Conall is an interesting parallel 
(Curtin, Hero-Tales of Ireland, pp. 58-92, from County Kerry). When Conall 
arrived at the castle of the Yellow King, he saw three poles, of which two bore a 
skull apiece: "These are the heads of two kings' sons who came to win the 
Yellow King's daughter." Thought he, " I suppose mine will be the third." 
However, after a furious battle, Conall cut off the head of the Yellow King and 
married the daughter. He presently disregarded his mistress's injunction not to 
sleep in the open, and was punished by losing her. His adventures in recovering 
her were many, but she was at last found in a revolving prison-guarded castle. 
Similar tales containing the turning-castle incident are : Blaiman, Son of Apple 
(Curtin, Hero-Tales, pp. 373-406, from County Kerry), and Coldfeet and the 
Queen of Lonesome Island (Curtin, pp. 242-261, from County Kerry). 

There are also a number of modern Other-World tales which contain variants 
of what may be called the active-door type. In the tale of Morraha (Larminie, 
West Irish Folk-Tales, pp. 10-30, from County Mayo), the hero set out in,quest 
of the Sword of Light. His steed cleared three miles of fire at one leap, three 
miles of mountain at the next, and three miles of sea at the third. Morraha was 
well entertained by the young king and queen of the country in which he 
now found himself, and they directed him how to proceed. He took the best 
horse in the stable and went to the door of the giant Blue Niall. After having 
turned his horse's back to the door, he knocked and demanded the Sword of 
Light, at the same time putting spurs to his horse. But Blue Niall overtook him 
and, "as he was passing the gate,. cut his horse in two." The next day Morraha 

82 A. C. L. Brown. 

CHAPTER IV {Continued). 


VI. The Other-World Landscape. 

The extraordinary features of the landscape at the Fountain Per- 
ilous in the Ivain may be briefly recalled : The fountain, which 
boils like hot water, though it is in fact colder than marble, is shaded 
by the most beautiful tree in the world. This tree never loses its 

had the same adventure, except that " as he was passing the gate" Blue Niall 
" cut the horse in two and half the saddle with him." On the third day, " as he 
was passing the gate," the giant "cut away the saddle and the clothes from his 
back." Morraha at last went at night and overcame the giant. 

In the tale of Art and Balor Beimenach (Curtin, Hero-Tales, pp. 327 ff., from 
County Kerry), the hero has a similar adventure, thrice repeated ; only in this 
case the giant cuts the horse in two as he is leaping the wall of the castle. " Art 
tumbled down from the wall with his life." 

Another Irish tale containing the incident of the severed horse at a giant's 
castle, is printed by O'Foharta, Zt.f. celt. Phil., I, 477 ff. In none of these tales, 
we should observe, is it said that the horse is cut in two by the gate, but only at 
the gate. However, the resemblance to the incident of the Falling Gates in the 
Ivain is certainly close. I suppose no one will maintain that these modern tales 
are a degradation of the Ivain. They certainly seem to corroborate the con- 
clusion drawn from La Mule sans Frein, that the theme of a horse severed at 
the gate of the Other World, with great peril to the rider, may have been a part 
of Celtic story before the time of Chretien. 

There are at least two modern Irish tales that represent the perilous gate to 
the Other World as more or less in the form of a portcullis. In the story called 
King^s Son and White Bearded Scolog (Curtin, Hero-Tales pp. 168-172, from 
Connemara), the gate of the giant's castle has " a pavement of sharp razors, 
edges upward." " Long needles set as thickly as bristles in a brush were fixed 
points downward under the lintel of the door and the door was low." The hero 
was obliged to make his horse leap into the castle over the razors and under the 
needles. Practically the same sort of gate to a giant's castle appears in The 
King of Erin and the Queen of Lonesome Island (Curtin, Myths and Folk-Lore, 

There is a curious tale obtained by David Fitzgerald at Askeaton in Ireland in 
1879 {l^e'v- Celt., IV, 185-186). Lake Guirr, " all Munster knows, is enchanted ; but 

Twain. 83 

leaves, winter or summer. It is a pine, and the tallest ^ that ever 
grew on earth. Its foliage must be very thick, for, however hard it 
rains, not a drop can pass its branches. Singing birds gather so 
thickly on this tree that they entirely conceal its branches and 
its leaves. Though each bird sings a different note, their voices 
together make the most delightful harmony imaginable. No one will 
ever hear aught so beautiful unless he go thither to listen to them. 

To sum up the chief features of the description, there is (i) a 
magnificent tree, (2) whose leaves do not fade summer or winter, and 

the spell passes off it once in every seven years. The lake then, to whoever has 
the luck to behold it, appears dry ; and the Tree may be partly seen at the bottom 
of it, covered with a Green Cloth. A certain bold fellow was at the spot one day 
at the very instant when the spell broke, and he rode his horse towards the tree 
and snatched away the Green Cloth (Brat 'Uaine) that covered it. As he turned 
his horse and fled for his life the Woman who sat on the watch, knitting under 
the cloth, at the foot of the tree, called out : 

Awake, awake, thou silent tide 1 

From the Dead Women's Land a horseman rides, 

From my head the green cloth snatching. 

At the words the waters rose ; and so fiercely did they pursue him that as he 
gained the edge of the lake one half of his steed was swept away, and with it 
the [Green Cloth], which he was drawing after him. Had that been taken, the 
enchantment was ended for ever." 

I have quoted the story in full to show the confused form in which Fitzgerald 
obtained it. Apparently it must have been originally a fairy mistress tale. The 
tree would then be a part of the Other-World landscape, and the incident of the 
halving of the steed a survival of some active-door episode. Fitzgerald gives also 
a well-defined fairy mistress tale connected with this lake. 

It is curious to remember that " the fountain such that if touched, or even 
seen by a man, it forthwith deluged the whole province " described by Giraldus 
Cambrensis (i 146-1220) in his Top. Hib. (dist. ii, cap. 7, Rolls ed., V, 89), was in 
this same province, Munster. The fountain (fans), says Giraldus, would not stop 
deluging the province till a priest celebrated mass in an adjoining chapel. 

The only inference I wish to draw from these modern tales is that the Strong 
Door attributed to the Other World in ancient Celtic story becomes naturally 
rationalized into a falling portcullis, while the incident of a horse being cut in two 
at this gate is a common embellishment. 

1 This translation is based on a variant ascribed by Foerster to MS. G. The 
reading that he adopts in his text (v. 414) is not " the tallest " but a repetition of 
what was said before, " the most beautiful." 

84 A. C. L. Brown. 

(3) whose foliage is so dense that rain cannot pass through it, (4) stand- 
ing by a fountain. (5) The tree is full of birds, who sing not in unison, 
but in harmony, and (6) their song is really a divine service.^ 

This romantic landscape shows no signs of being a chance embel- 
lishment. It is described repeatedly, and one of Iwain's chief hopes, 
as he sets out on his journey, is that he may see the pine that 
overshadows the fountain. There is nothing, therefore, against an 
hypothesis that would explain this scene as a rationalization of an 
earlier Other- World landscape. On the contrary, no other adequate 
explanation has ever been suggested. With these facts in mind, we 
may turn to the study of the Other- World landscape in Celtic story. 

In the Serglige Conculaind, which is the oldest extant tale of the 
precise type now under discussion, and which we have therefore used 
as a norm for comparison, the landscape of the Other World is rather 
fully described. It is marked by splendid trees full of singing birds. 
These trees bear fruit, and three hundred men are nourished by the 
fruit of each tree. One notable tree stands at the door of the Other- 
World palace, and the harmonious song of the birds upon it is partic- 
ularly dwelt on. There is a noble well close at hand. 

In the Imram Brain, the great antiquity of which seems certain, 
the same general features are described. One "ancient tree" is 
mentioned " from which birds call at the canonical hours " (§§ 6, 7).^ 

1 S'escoutai tant qu'il orent fet 
Lor servise trestot a tret (vv. 471-472). 
^ This singing to the Hours is obviously a borrowing from Christian concep- 
tions of the Earthly Paradise. The birds are probably thought of as transformed 
souls (see Mailduin, § 19), awaiting the Day of Judgment, who chant the divine 
services at their appointed times. The fact that the influence of the Earthly 
Paradise has been at work at one point in this description naturally suggests that 
perhaps the notable tree may be a borrowing of the Christian Tree of Life (observe 
that its fruit feeds the Other-World people). At the same time, it must be 
remembered that the Serglige description (which bears no distinct marks of 
Christian influence), though it speaks of many trees, singles out one as of special 
prominence. A single tree with singing birds may well have been a part of pagan 
Celtic Other-World lore. The occurrence of an Other-World tree, perhaps due 
to Christian influence, in a document as ancient as the Imram Brain, has an 
important bearing on the vexed question of the origin of the ash Yggdrasill and 
the Scandinavian Other-World landscape in general. Christian influence may 
have operated through Ireland. 

I wain. 85 

In another stanza (§ 43) " a wood without decay and without defect " 
is spoken of. This reminds one of the tree in the Iiiain, whose 
leaves did not fade winter or summer. 

The Celtic Other-World landscape, indeed, so far as it can be 
recovered from these two extremely early tales, closely resembles 
the scenery at the Fountain Perilous in the Ivain. In both there is 
(i) a remarkable tree, (2) whose leaves do not decay, (4) standing 
near a well, and (5) filled with singing birds, (6) who are perform- 
ing a religious service. It will be observed that, except for the 
single feature (3) of the tree's having branches so thick that no rain 
could penetrate them, the list of important marks of the description 
in the Ivain would apply equally well to that of the Other-World 
landscape in these Irish tales. Even, therefore, if we were unable 
to trace this motive any farther, the probability that the scene in the 
Jvain is at bottom a rationalization of a Celtic Other-World land- 
scape would be very great. 

On the basis thus given, as has been said, it is entirely justifiable 
to assume that the birds singing psalms on Island 18 of the Mail- 
diiin, the souls in bird shape on the trees of Island 19, and the mar- 
vellous fountain of Island 20 must originally have been united in 
one landscape. A comparison of the later imrama establishes the 
truth of this inference beyond the possibility of doubt. 

In the Imram Snedgusa ocus Mic Riagla, which is preserved in a 
fourteenth-century MS.,^ but which has been shown by Zimmer ^ 
to have originated about the end of the ninth century or during the 
tenth, one of the adventures is as follows ° : 

Thereafter the wind wafts them to an island wherein was a great tree 
with beautiful birds on its branches. [Here follows a distinctly ecclesias- 
tical account of " a great bird with head of gold and wings of silver " that 
told them tales out of the life of Christ (§ 17). The next section resumes ;] 

1 The Yellow Book of Lecan tH. 2. 16. T. C. D.). 

2 Haupt's Zt., XXXIII, 218 ff. 

' Quoted from the translation of Whitley Stokes, published, with the Irish 
text, in Revue Celtique, IX, 14-25. A summary of this tale is given by Zimmer, 
I.e., pp. 211-216. 

86 A. C. L. Brown. 

" Melodious was the music of those birds a-singing psalms and canticles 
praising the Lord. For they were the birds of the Plain of Heaven and 
neither trunk nor leaf of that tree decays " (§ i8). 

In this passage occur, united, features i, 2, 5, and 6 of the descrip- 
tion in the Ivain. Moreover, between the phrase last quoted and a 
part of the account of the tree in the Ivain there is an almost verbal 
resemblance ' : 

Snedgus, § 18. YvAiN, vv. 384-385. 

And neither trunk nor leaf of that An toz tans la fuelle li dure, 

tree decays. Qu'il ne la pert por nul iver. 

In the Latin Navigatio Sancti Brandani, — which, as Zimmer has 
shown, ^ is based in great part on the Irish imrama (especially the 
Imram Mailduin), and is preserved in several MSS. considerably 
older than the time of Chretien, — occur the fountain, the tree, and 
the birds united in a single landscape, forming a parallel to the Ivain 
that, as Kolbing has remarked, cannot be purely accidental. 

In the Navigatio^ the voyagers arrive at an island which, as they have 
been previously informed,* is called Paradysus Avium. They find the 
mouth of a river, and with the aid of a rope they tow their boat up the 

1 This and several other parallels discussed in the next few pages were pointed 
out by the late Professor Kolbing in an article entitled Christian von Troyes Yvain 
und die Brandanuslegende, in Zt. f. vergleich. Litteraturgeschichte, XI, 442-448. 
Kolbing justly felt that these coincidences could not be due to chance, but it did 
not occur to him that they proved a definite connection between the whole story 
of the Ivain and the imrama. He feels obliged to admit that Chretien, in his 
description of the landscape at the Fountain Perilous, must have borrowed from 
various pieces of imram literature (he did not trace the theme back to fairy mis- 
tress stories like the Serglige) ; but he does not attempt to explain why Chretien 
should have copied this material into his narrative. It is useless to the action 
and is scarcely the sort of ornament that a rationalizer like Chretien would have 
gone out of his way to adopt. Why should it appear in the Ivain unless it was 
thrust upon him by the original story ? 

2 Haupfs Zt, XXXIII, 298. Zimmer dated the Navigatio not earlier than 
1050; but Steinweg, Rom. Forsch., VII, 1-48, cites a MS. of about 1000. Kolbing, 
I.e., p. 443, gives as date " the second half of the twelfth century," 

' Sanct Brandan, ed. C. Schroder, p. 11, 11. 19 ff. 
4 P. 10,1. 18. 

I wain. 87 

stream "dum ad fontem venerant ejusdem fluminis. . . . Erat autem 
Buper illo [sc. fonte] arbor mire latitudinis in gyrum et non magna altitu- 
dinis, cooperta avibus candidissimis : in tantum cooperuerunt illam, ut folia 
et rami ejus vix viderentur." 

One of these birds addresses Brandan and tells him that they are really 
spirits in bird shape.^ " Hie presentiam Dei non possumus videre, set in 
tantum alienavit nos a consortio aliorum qui steterunt, quia vagamur per 
diversas partes aeris et firmament! et terrarum sicut alii spiritus qui mittun- 
tur, sed in Sanctis diebus atque dominicis accipimus corpora talia qualia tu 
nunc vides, ut commoremur hie laudemusque nostrum creatorem." ... It 
is added ^ : " Cum autem vespertina hora appropinquasset, ceperunt omnes 
aves qui in arbore erant quasi una voce cantare percutientes latera sua 
atque dicentes : ' Te decet ymnus, Deus in Syon, et tibi reddetur votum in 
Jherusalem.' Et semper reciprocabant predictum versiculum quasi per 
spacium unius hore, et videbatur viro Dei et illis qui cum eo erant ilia 
mbdulatio ex sonis alarum quasi carmen planctus pro suavitate." 

Thus the birds sang at the various canonical hours : " ad terciam vigi- 
liam noctis," " ad vesperum," " cum aurora refulsisset," " ad nonam." 
" Ita die ac nocte aves reddebant Deo laudem." 

There are, as Kolbing has indicated, two remarkable verbal resem- 
blances between this description in the Navigatio and that in the Ivain : 

Navigatio, pp. 11,1. 31 ; 12, 11. 26 ff. YvAiN, vv. 462, 465 ff. 

Ut folia et rami ejus vix viderentur. Qu'il n'i paroit branche ne fuelle. 

Ceperunt omnes aves que in arbore Et trestuit li oisel chantoient, 
erant, quasi una voce cantare. Si que trestuit s'antracordoient. 

It is, moreover, clear that in both cases the birds are engaged in 
a religious service, for this must be the meaning of the expression in 

the Ivain: 

S'escoutai tant qu'il orent fet 

Lor servise trestot a tret (vv. 471-472).^ 

1 P. 12, U. 16 ff. = P. 12, U. 26 ff. 

2 Chretien's words might possibly mean " until they had finished their office or 
duty " ; but Kolbing points out that the phrase " feire servise " is regularly applied 
to a religious office, and compares the corresponding passage in the Ivens Saga, 
ii, 37 : ")>ar til er l>eir luku scjng sinum ok tiSum [the canonical hours] er >eir 
sungu." Cf. Kolbing, Ivens Saga, Halle, 1898, pp. 16-17, footnote. 


A. C. L. Brow7i. 

There is an Anglo-Norman version of the Brandan story which 
was composed by Benedeit about the year 1 1 2 1 . The corresponding 
incident in this is also strikingly like the description in the Ivain. 
The most important of these resemblances, which are occasionally 
even verbal, may be conveniently indicated by an arrangement in 
parallel columns : 

Brandan,! yy ^g^ fj 

Al chef del duit out une arbre 
Itant blanche cume marbre 
E les fuiles mult sunt ledes 
De ruge blanc taceledes 
De haltece par vedue 
Muntout le arbre sur la nue 
Des le sumet desque en terra 
La brancheie mult la serre 
E ledement s'estent par I'air 
Umbraiet luin e tolt I'eclair 
Tute asise de blancs oiseus 
Unches nul hom ne vit tant beus. 

YvAiN, vv. 38s if. 

La fontainne verras, qui bout, 
S'est ele plus froide que marbres. 
Onbre li fet li plus biaus arbres 
Qu'onques poist feire nature. 
An toz tans la fuelle li dure, 
Qu'il ne la pert per nul iver. 

YvAiN, vv. 413 ff. 

Bien sai de I'arbre, c'est la fins, 
Que ce estoit li plus biaus pins 
Qui onques sor terre creiist. 
Ne cuit qu'onques si fort pleiist 
Que d'iaue i passast une gote, 
Eingois coloit par desus tote. 

YvAiN, vv. 459 ff. 

Des que li tans fu trespassez, 
Vi sor le pin tant amassez 
Oisiaus (s'est qui croire m'an vuelle), 
Qu'il n'i paroit branche ne fuelle. 
Que tot ne fust covert d'oisiaus, 
S'an estoit li arbres plus biaus ; 
Et trestuit li oisel chantoient 
Si que trestuit s'antracordoient : 
Mes divers chanz chantoit chascuns. 

1 Quoted from Suchier's text, Rom. Stud., I, 553-588. For convenience, abbre- 
viations are here resolved and words are separated, but no punctuation has been 
attempted. Cf. Auracher's text, vv. 438 ff., Zt. f. rom. Phil., II, 444 ff. On the 
date of Benedeit's Brandan (about 1121), see Suchier, p. 553. With this date 
Kolbing (I.e., p. 444) agrees and also G. Paris (Rom., XXIX, 590, note i). 

I wain. 89 

All of the chief features of the landscape at the Fountain Perilous 
are to be found in this Anglo-Norman Voyage of Brandan, including 
even the dense foliage of the tree,^ so that the summary which I have 
given of the features of the incident in the Ivain would apply equally 
well to the Anglo-Norman poem. In comparing the two narratives, 
Kolbing has directed attention to the identical rhyme-words ^ occur- 
ring at about the same point in the two episodes; also to the fact 
that in both the tree is described as especially adapted by the form 
of its branches for casting a shadow,^ and to the extraordinary height 
of the tree in the Brandan . 

De haltece par vedue 

Muntout le arbre sur la nue (vv. 493-494), 

which is paralleled in the reading of one of the manuscripts * of the 

Ivain : 

Que ce estoit li plus hauz pins 

Qui onques sor terra creiist (vv. 414-415), 

and in the corresponding verse in Hartmann's Iwein : 

Si ist breit hdch und als6 die 
daz regen noch der sunnen blic 
niemer dar durch kumt (vv. 575 ff.). 

From a comparison of these voyage-stories with the description of 
the scenery at the Fountain Perilous, Kolbing has come to the con- 
clusion that Chretien must have borrowed " dieses ganze Motiv von 
dem mit Vogeln dicht besetzten Baume " from the Brandan legend. 
He thinks the French poet must have had at hand the Navigatio, and 
probably also the Norman-French Brajidan, and that he certainly 
must have known the incident in the Imram Snedgus. 

1 " La brancheie mult la serre " (v. 496). 

2 Brandan, vv. 489-490, arbre, marire ; Yvain, vv. 381-382, marbres, arbres. 

' Brandan, v. 498, "umbraie luin "; Yvain, v. 382, " Onbre li fet li plus biaus 

* This reading is more attractive than that adopted in the text of Foerster's 
editions, "11 plus biaus pins," which merely repeats v. 382 : "li plus biaus arbres." 
Kolbing thinks it certain that some texts of the Navigatio must have made the 
tree high (the version that we have reads " non magne altitudinis "), for in a frag- 
ment of an Old Norse version of the Brandan story the tree is called " einkar 
hatt " (Unger, Heilagra Manna Sogur, I, 275). 


A. C. L. Brown. 

A moment's reflection will show that this is a very difficult 
hypothesis to maintain. Why should Chretien have pieced together 
his description from various stories ? The situation is not what it 
would be if the landscape formed an important element in Chretien's 
plot. In that case one might possibly argue that Chre'tien had been 
at great pains to put together his description from various hints. As 
it is, the accessories of the fountain (the tree, the birds, etc.) being 
mere ornaments, tending rather to interrupt the progress of the story, 
such a useless activity on his part is almost unthinkable. A far 
more probable inference to draw from the fact that Chre'tien seems 
at one point to agree with the description in one story, while at 
another point he agrees with that in another,^ is that we have not 
the particular originals that Chretien used, but only stories contain- 
ing the same theme, — namely, descriptions of the conventional land- 
scape of the Celtic Other World, which had become identified with 
that of the Earthly Paradise. This will explain the presence in the 
Ivain of numerous apparently petty and purely decorative details, 
without our assuming that Chretien purposely gathered them together 
out of different voyage-stories. 

Kolbing, who does not attempt to explain how this extraordinary 
landscape made its way into the Ivain, recognizes distinctly its 
Other-World character. He compares the monkish Visio Tnugdali, 
which was composed between 1150 and 1160.^ When Tundalus 
reached Paradise he found a scene unmistakably the same as that 
which we have traced in the Celtic imrama, in the Navigatio, and in 
the Ivain : 

Et respiciens vidlt unam arborem maximam at latissimam, frondibus et 
floribus viridissimam omniumque frugum generibus fertilissimam. In cujus 
frondibus, aves multe- diversorum colorum et diversarum vocum cantantes 
et organizantes morabantur, sub cujus etiam ramis lilia et rose multe nimis 
et cunctarum herbarum specierumque odiferarum genera oriebantur. 

1 Thus the Ivain agrees with the Snedgus in the unfading leaves ascribed to 
the tree (a feature not mentioned in the Navigatio), while it agrees with the 
Navigatio in the birds' gathering so thickly that they obscure the branches and 
the leaves (a feature not mentioned in the Snedgus). 

2 Ed. A. Wagner, p. 50. Wagner discusses the date of the Visio on page xxv. 

Iivain. g I 

The extraordinary size of the tree in this scene, the numerous 
birds, and especially their singing in harmony, form, taken together, 
a parallel that cannot be due to chance. This passage, and others 
that might be cited, prove that the scene whose development is now 
under discussion must have been well understood in Chretien's time 
as the conventional landscape of the Other World or the Earthly 
Paradise. There is, therefore, no reasonable hypothesis that will 
account for Chretien's insertion of this theme ad extra into his Ivain. 
There are many things that show that he minimized the marvellous 
character of the incidents he was relating. It would be absurd, 
then, to hold that he went out of his way to drag in the landscape 
of the Other World. Its occurrence in the Ivain must be a survival 
from that Celtic story of a journey to the Other World which, as the 
cumulative evidence of many other incidents tends to show, lay at 
the basis of the tale of Iwain. 

Practically every Celtic tale of a fairy mistress contains a descrip- 
tion of the Other-World landscape. We have studied such descrip- 
tions in the Serglige, the Bran, the Mailduin, the Snedgus, and the 
Adventures of Teigue. Similar descriptions are to be found in less 
ancient tales, such as the Imram curraig Hui Corra^ the Baile an 

1 The Voyage of the Htli Corra exists in the Book of Ferjnoy, a fifteenth-century 
MS. It has been edited and translated by Stokes, Rev. Celt., XIV, 22-70. 
Stokes puts the composition of the tale in the eleventh century. Zimmer (ffaupt's 
Zt, XXXIII, 198) thinks it "not earlier than the twelfth century." A passage in 
the early part of this imram runs thus : 

" Thereafter I perceived that I was borne away to gaze at Heaven, and I per- 
ceived the Lord himself on his throne, and a bird-flock of angels making music 
to him. Then I saw a bright bird and sweeter was his singing than every melody. 
Now this was Michael in the form of a bird in the presence of the Creator " (§ 14). 

Later the voyagers come to what seems to be the Earthly Paradise : 

" Thereafter they row on for a, long while, till another wonderful island was 
shewn to them, with a beautiful bright grove of fragrant apple trees therein. A 
very beautiful river flowed through the midst of the grove. Now when the wind 
would move the tree tops of the grove, sweeter was their song than any music. 
The Hiii Corra ate somewhat of the apples and drank somewhat of the river of 
wine, so that they were straightway satisfied, and perceived not wound or disease 
in them "(§47). 


A. C. L. Brown. 

Sceal^ the Echtra Cormaic,^ and many others. If, then, the material 
that Chrdtien used in writing his Ivain was essentially a Celtic fairy 
tale, he must almost certainly have found in it an account of the 
Other- World landscape. The occurrence, therefore, of unmistakable 

1 The Baile na Scailis, an Other-World Journey found in a fourteenth-century MS. 
It must, however, be at least as old as the eleventh century, for it was known to 
Flann of Monasterboice, who died in 1056 (O'Curry, MS. Materials, pp. 387-389, 
and Appendix, p. cxxviii). In it the Other-World tree is particularly dwelt on : 
" A kingly rath they saw with a beautiful tree at the door." 

2 The Echtra Cormaic i Tir Tairnffiri exists in no MS. older than the four- 
teenth century. The text, according to Zimmer (Haupt's Zt., XXXIII, 268) is 
at least somewhat older than that. It has been edited and translated by Stokes, 
Irische Texte, III, i, 183-212: 

One day Cormac was alone in the plain near Tara when he saw a gray-haired 
warrior coming to him. He had in his hand a branch which when shaken put 
every one who heard it to sleep by the melody which it made. " Whence hast thou 
come?" said Cormac. "From a land," he replied, "where there is naught save 
truth and where there is neither old age nor decay nor gloom." Cormac asked 
for the music-making branch and received it after promising to give the warrior in 
return whatever three boons he should ask. 

A year later the stranger reappeared and asked for Cormac's daughter, whom 
he took away with him. Again he came and took Cormac's son, and last of all 
his wife. Cormac endured this not, but followed after the stranger. He soon 
found himself alone on a plain with a wall of bronze around it. " He sees in the 
garth a shining fountain, with five streams flowing out of it, and the hosts in turn 
a-drinking its water. Nine hazels of Buan . . . drop their nuts into the fountain. . . . 
Now the sound of the faUing of those streams is more melodious than any music 
that (men) sing." Cormac entered the palace and found a noble warrior with the 
loveliest of the world's women. He was entertained and bathed without the aid 
of any attendants. " The (heated) stones (of themselves went) into and (came) 
out (of the water)." 

The warrior now brought forth Cormac's family and bestowed on him many 
gifts, saying; "I am Manannan mac Lir. To see the Land of Promise have I 
brought thee hither.'' After a banquet, all went to rest. When Cormac awoke 
in the morning, he found himself on the plain of Tara, and beside him were his 
wife, his son, and his daughter, and also all the presents that Manannan had 
given him. 

It will be remembered that, when Teigue reached the Other World, he found 
Connla established ' there as a prince, having beside him "the damsel of many 
charms that brought him thither.'' Now in the Dinnshenchas of Sinend in the 
Book of Lsinster (p. 156, a, 6) we read of an Other-World fountain called " Connla's 
Well " : 



traces of an Other-World landscape in the Ivain cannot but add 
much weight to the cumulative evidence of other incidents, which 
tends to show that the Ivain is at bottom a Celtic Other-World tale. 
The Other-World landscape, as it appears in even the older Irish 
tales, is evidently in part, perhaps in very great part, a product of 
Christian influences. This fact in no way militates against the 
hypothesis that the episode reached Chre'tien through Celtic chan- 
nels.^ The elements of the description, though perhaps in great 

" Sinend, daughter of Lodan mac Lir, out of the Land of Promise, went to 
Connla's Well, which is under sea. That is the well at which are the hazels of 
wisdom, that is, the hazels of the science of poetry, and in the same hour their 
fruit, their blossom, and their foliage break forth." (See Rev. Celt., XV, 457.) 

Although this description may have been influenced by the classic fountain of 
the Muses, it certainly seems to show that, as early as 11 50, a part of the Other- 
World landscape was definitely connected with Connla. Perhaps the Echtra 
Condla existed once in a more complete form, in which the Other-World landscape 
was described. 

It will also be remembered that in the Adventures of Teigue, the hero, when he 
returns, is told that the Other World birds will go with him : " They will give you 
guidance and make you symphony and minstrelsy, and till again ye reach Ireland 
neither sadness or grief shall afflict you." These birds seem to be a part of the 
Other-World landscape, even if their guiding the hero suggests the possibility that 
classical influence has been at work in this passage. A guiding falcon is found 
in the Mailduin, § 34 (cf. .^neid, VI, 190 ff.). The birds of Riannon, the Other- 
World wife of Pwyll, should be compared at this point. In Branwen, Daughter 
of Llyr (Loth, Les Mabinogion, I, 91-93) Bran directs his followers to go to 
Harddlech, "where they will remain seven years at table while the birds of 
Rhiannon sing to them." They do as he tells them, and " three birds came and 
sang more beautifully than any birds they had ever heard. The birds kept far 
out over the sea, but they saw them as distinctly as if they were close at hand." 
This lasted for seven years. 

The birds in the last two passages, though probably at bottom a part of the 
apparatus of the Celtic Other World, have perhaps been influenced a good deal 
by non-Celtic tradition. Professor Kittredge has called to my attention the birds 
to which the Monk Felix listened. Felix fell asleep at their music, and, when he 
awoke and returned to his monastery, he found that he had been absent two hun- 
dred years. For the text of this story and for references, see Waitz, Gottinger 
GeselUchaft. d. Wiss., Hist.-phil. Classe, Abhandl., VIII, 7 ff. ; cf. Zt. f d. Phil., 
XIV, 96; XXVIII, 35 ff. 

1 The same remark is to be made in general about the incidents discussed in 
this chapter. They have all been found as parts of Celtic fairy mistress story 

94 A. C. L. Brown. 

part Christian, did not take their peculiar development except on 
Celtic ground. It is only on Celtic ground that stories written 
before the time of Chre'tien can be pointed out that contain all of 
the important features of the landscape at the Fountain Perilous. 

Few things are, therefore, more certain than that the marvellous 
landscape of Chretien's Fountain is derived from Celtic sources. 
The long line of parallels to this incident, running back at least to 
the eighth century, is enough to establish this beyond a reasonable 

CHAPTER IV {Concluded). 


VII. Conclusion. 

The result of the investigations in this chapter seems to be the 
complete establishment of all the parallels between the Ivain and 
the SergUge tentatively put forth on p. 44 above. The Marvellous 
Landscape at the Fountain Perilous has been shown to be the same 
as that in Labraid's isle. The Combat Motive in the Ivain has 
been exactly paralleled in an ancient Irish tale of the type of the 
SergUge. The Falling Gates have been traced by natural transitions 
to the Perilous-Passage Motive. The other parallels between the 
Ivain and the SergUge — the tale of a previous adventurer, the part 
played by the heroine's confidante, the departure of the hero to his 
own land, his broken faith, followed by his loss of the heroine and 
his madness — need no study to confirm their significance. 

before the time of Chretien. This is all that it is necessary to prove for our present 
purpose. That some of them are perhaps not of Celtic invention, but may have 
been early Celtic borrowings from what one writer has called " the common stock 
of European folk-lore," is of no consequence in the present argument, which is 
concerned with the question of Chretien's immediate sources. 

I wain. Qc 

These coincidences between Chre'tien's Ivain and a single par- 
ticular type of ancient Irish and Welsh story cannot reasonably be 
regarded as due to chance. The Ivain must in origin be a Celtic 
story of a Journey to the Other World, of the type conveniently 
represented by the Serglige Conculaind. 



In the great collection of tales called The Colloquy with the Men 
of Old (Acallamh na Setibrach), preserved in manuscripts of the 
fifteenth century/ there is a story of the Journey to the Other World 
which illustrates very well the partial rationalization which the older 
themes generally undergo when they pass through the hands of 
later redactors. In this tale the Other-World heroine is repre- 
sented as the daughter of the arch-ollave of Manannan mac Lir, and 
the hero is said to have eloped with her. These rather stupid 
attempts at rationalization^ do not, however, prevent the original 
fairy character of the lady from coming out distinctly. Though the 
story in the Acallamh is only an episode, it will be convenient to 
give it a title from the name of the hero : 

^ The fragments occurring in the Book of Lismore (including this tale) are 
printed by O'Grady, Silva Gadelica, I, 94-234 (translation, II, 101-265). The 
whole Acallamh has since been edited, from four MSS., by Stokes, Irische Texte, 
IV, i, 1-438, with a translation of such passages as are not found in the Book 
of Lismore. The story which here concerns us is considerably older than the 
fifteenth century. 

^ The fact that the tale has suffered rationalization goes to show that its original 
form must be old. 

96 A. C. L. Brown. 


Ciabdn put to sea with two strangers in a boat. Caught in a dreadful 
storm, the voyagers were like to perish when they saw a horseman on 
a dark green steed with a golden bridle, riding over the waves. He took 
the three travellers up on the back of his horse, while the boat floated along 
beside, and in this way they came to the Land of Promise (77>- Thairrn- 
gaire). There they dismounted and went to Manannd.n's cathair (stone 
fort), " in which an end had just been made of ordering a banqueting hall 
for them." ^ " All four were served there : their horns and their cups were 
raised : comely dark-eyed gillies went round with smooth polished horns : 
sweet-stringed timpans were played by them and most melodious dulcet- 
chorded harps, until the whole house was flooded with music." " Now in 
the Land of Promise, Mananndn possessed an arch-oUave that had three 
daughters. The three travellers eloped with these three daughters." 
Ciabdn carried off the one named Clidna and reached Ireland with her. 

Although in this tale the fairy character of the lady has been lost 
sight of, yet in some verses that are sung she is called "the queen 
of the distant gathering," an apparent survival of her primitive 
exalted position. The incident of meeting Manannan on the sea is 
found in the oldest tales. In the Serglige and the Bran, however, 
Manannan drives a chariot. Horseback riding is probably a later 
feature, though' not necessarily very late. Loegaire, according to the 
Book of Leinster, returned from the Other World on horseback. In 
Celtic story the Other World is reached either in a marvellous ship, 
which is presumably the earlier motive, or by means of a horse that 
travels on the sea as well as on the land.^ The tale of Ciaban is 
interesting as showing one motive as it were in process of trans- 
formation into the other. The travellers start in a boat,* but finish 
their journey on the back of a horse. 

1 Summarized from O'Grady, Silva Gadelica, II, 198-201. For text, see Stokes, 
Irische Texte, IV, i, 106 ff. 

2 I.e. the coming of the travellers is expected, as is always the case in the Other 

» For example, in the Fate of the Children of Tuirean, Lugh is said to have 
had Manannan's steed Enbarr, which travelled equally well by sea or by land. 

^ A marvellous self-moving boat as a means of communication with the Other 
World appears in the fairy mistress story of Becuma (summarized by Todd, from 

Twain. c^^j 

There are numbers of later Irish Other- World stories belonging 
to the type exemplified in the older literature by the Serglige, the 
Loegaire, and the Welsh Pwyll and Arawn. In these stories, it will 
be remembered, the hero is in each case invited to the Other World 
by a fairy chieftain, who is oppressed by a mysterious enemy and 
needs the aid of a mortal hero to free him from his foe. As a 
reward, the hero in every case is promised and receives the hand of 

The precise form in which the stories of this type have been 
handed down to us can only be explained, I think, by assuming that 
they have suffered more or less at the hands of rationalizers, who 
have modified the original relations of the supernatural actors to 
make them conform to ordinary human situations. All the Celtic 
fairy stories, with the exception of the Echtra Condla, show traces 
of having been influenced by a general tendency to represent the 
fairy folk as merely human beings living in a marvellous or distant 
land. Fairy relationships are interpreted after a strictly human 
pattern.^ Liban, the messenger of Fand, is made the wife of Labraid, 
a king of the Other World. "Yh&fee in the tale of Loegaire is repre- 
sented as the daughter of Fiachna, whom he bestows in marriage 
just as any earthly monarch would bestow his daughter. The Other 
World is often identified with the Isle of Man or the Hebrides or 
some other remote land. In the more modern stories this process 
has gone so far that the Other World is commonly represented as 
Greece, and the heroine, whose fairy character has been forgotten, 

the Book of Fermoy, a fifteenth-century MS., R.I.A., Irish MS. Series, I, 38 ff.). 
Manannan appears in this tale as a chieftain of the Tuatha de Danan. The tale 
of Finn and Bebend in the Acallamh na Sendrach should also be compared 
(Stokes, Irische Texte, IV, i, 164 ff. ; translation, O'Grady, Silva Gadelica, II, 
238-242), where an Other-World personage escapes in a mysterious boat across 
the sea. Bebend (Behind), a lady of supernatural beauty, visits Finn. She declares 
that she has come from the Land of Maidens across the Western Sea. She is 
the daughter of the king of that land, "who has nine daughters and one hundred 
and forty maidens." " There are no men there except the king and his three sons." 
1 It should be remembered that none of these story texts are much older, in 
their present form, than the tenth century. By that time the Irish had long been 
Christians, and doubtless already their conceptions of the fairies were becoming 

98 A. C. L. Brown. 

is called the daughter of the king of Athens. Sorcha ^ (Portugal) 
is another name applied to what must have been at first the Other 
World, while Tirfd Thuinn ^ is even explained as Holland. 

If we make allowances for this progressive euhemerization, a more 
primitive form of the type of story now under discussion may be 
reconstructed as follows : The fte was probably always represented 
as supreme. She falls in love with a mortal and sends one of her 
maidens to invite him to her land. Several adventurers thereupon 
set out, but the fke appoints one of her creatures to guard the 
passage. Naturally, no one overcomes this opposing warrior but the 
destined hero, who is rewarded by the possession of Xh&fke. But to 
the exalted character of the fte is joined a requirement of absolute 
obedience to her commands. Very often the hero offends in some 
way and is punished by instant dismissal. If he ever returns, it is 
only after many adventures. 

If this be not the primitive form of the type of story with which 
we are dealing, how can one explain the fact that Labraid does not 
send some one of his officers to invite Cuchulinn to his land, espe- 
cially after Cuchulinn has objected to going on the invitation of a 
woman ? The coming of a woman, Liban, is an evident survival 
from an older form of the story, in which the fte and her maidens 
were the only real actors. Again, if this be not the original form of 
stories of this type, how can one explain the fact that Arawn offers 
his wife to Pwyll ? " I will give thee the most beautiful woman thou 
hast ever seen to sleep with thee every night." This is a natural 
development if Arawn was at first only the creature of the fie, 
employed by her to lure the mortal on whom she had set her fancy 
to the Other World. The ruthless way, in the Tale of Curoi, in which 
Blathnat marries Cuchulinn after the death of her husband, may also 
be taken as an indication that the giant was originally only a creature 
of the fte. 

Of course, neither in the Tale of Curoi nor in any of the other 
tales just mentioned could the opposing warrior, in the most primi- 
tive form of the story, have been really slain. He was an Other- 

1 See Douglas Hyde, The Lad of the Ferule, p. xiv, note. 

2 " The Land beneath the Waves." See Hyde, p. 23, note. 

Twain. gg, 

World being, like the fee, and like her essentially immortal. This is 
clearly indicated in the case of Curoi, who, as we know from the 
F/ed Bricrend, was thrice beheaded, but each time returned the next 
day as strong as ever. All of these supernatural creatures of the fee, 
Manannan, Arawn, Curoi, are shape-shifters. The opposing warrior 
is only apparently slain by the hero, not really put out of the way. 
The combat was in origin only a test of valor. Its object was to 
give the hero a chance to prove that he was worthy of the love of 
a fee. 

When, however, the fairy nature of the Other- World people became 
more and more forgotten, the combat was regarded as a battle in 
earnest to get rid of a powerful opponent. The female fees were 
shorn of their absolute power, and men were introduced to play the 
leading parts, as on earth. Hence would naturally arise a situation 
like that in the SergUge, where the Other-World king is represented 
as oppressed by a foe and as sending for Cuchulinn to help him. 
The reward he promises is the hand of a fee, who is more or less 
rationalized and is represented as his sister-in-law. A slightly dif- 
ferent turn in the rationalization would give the situation in the 
Loegaire, where the fairy king presents his daughter to the 'mortal 
hero who comes to his aid. Another and very natural turn would 
represent the Other-World power employed by the fk to test the 
hero's valor, as her husband.' This would give the situation in 
Pwyll and Arawn, in the Tale of Curoi, and, I may add, in the 
story of Laudine and Esclados.-' 

' The creature of the_/% may have been thought of in the earliest times as her 
paramour, not of course as her husband in any strict sense,^or the conventional 
relations of human marriage would not have been strictly applied to distinctly 
supernatural beings such as the primitive fairies undoubtedly were. Even if this 
supernatural being, really a god, were her paramour, she might have tired of him, 
as is hinted in the story of Fand and Manannan, and employed him to lure to 
her an earthly hero to take his place. In any case, it is easy to see how the 
creature of the/^if, presumably a giant, might be rationalized into her husband or 
her oppressor. 

'^ Important confirmation of the truth of this development is found in the 
curiously jumbled incident of La foie de la Cort in Chretien's Erec. The lady 
(represented as an enchantress), who is of course a rationalized /A', is said to have 
persuaded her lover to enter a garden surrounded by a mysterious wall of air, and 

lOO A. C. L. Brown. 

There are, then, in stories of the type represented by the Serglige 
and the Tale of Curoi but two original Other- World actors of any 
consequence : the fee and the shape-shifter. In the earlier form of 
tales of this type, the fee, we may assume, made use of the shape- 
shifter to guide the mortal hero on his way to the Other World and 
to test his valor before he was admitted there. In the form in which 
they have come down to us, the tendency to represent the fairy man 
as superior to the fk has asserted itself. The shape-shifter is dis- 
tressed by a powerful enemy, from whom he can be delivered only 
by a mortal hero. He therefore, of his own accord, seeks out and 
guides to the Other World the appropriate hero, and as a reward for 
his services bestows on him the/<f^. 

In the later Irish tales of this type, the various appearances of the 
shape-shifter in his task of luring and directing the hero to the Other 
World are made as puzzling as possible. This is perhaps chiefly 
because the actual character of the shape-shifter has been misunder- 
stood or forgotten ; but one cannot help feeling that sometimes 
mystification has been purposely introduced for the sake of keeping 
up the suspense and thus retaining the interest of the listener till the 
very end. Sometimes, at the close of a tale, a phrase or two is added 
to explain that the various creatures encountered by the hero were in 
reality different forms of the same Other-World power. More often 

to have made him swear to remain there with her till a knight shall enter who 
can overcome him. Erec enters and overthrows the lover, who is of gigantic 
size. In this story, it will be seen, the opposing warrior is actually subject to the 
fSe (practically her creature), just as must have been the case in the more primitive 
forms of the Celtic Other-World tale, as we have already inferred on other evidence. 
The explanation here sketched of the development of Other- World tales of 
the Serglige type has been merely hinted at in previous chapters, and no arguments 
at all have been based on it. This has been done of set purpose, lest any reader 
should suppose that the proof that the story of Chretien's Ivain depends on Celtic 
sources rested in any way on this reconstruction. The entire explanation may be 
rejected, vrithout interfering in the least with the train of reasoning which has 
shown that the Ivain and tales like the Serglige belong to the same special genre, 
and therefore in all probability must be derived from the same sources. The 
explanation is inserted at this point as a necessary preliminary to the disentangle- 
ment of various modern tales which, through centuries of oral transmission before 
they were written down, have often become extraordinarily confused. 

Twain. loi 

all elucidatory hints are omitted, and the tale appears, at first sight, 
a mere jumble of disconnected incidents. 

A fair example of an Irish tale of this type, which has been pre- 
served only in a modern manuscript, and has suffered the usual con- 
fusions incident to constant retelling and careless transcription, is 
The Gillie of the Ferule : 


The Story begins with the appearance of a mysterious stranger, who 
presents the hero (Murough) with a brace of hounds sent by the Queen of 
Pride. He then disappears " like the mist of a winter fog or the whiff of a 
March wind," and no more is heard of him, or of the Queen of Pride and 
her message. 

The next day Murough goes hunting with the strange hounds, and is 
led by them to a particular spot, where he meets an odd fellow in a black 
shirt, who asks to be taken into his service. Murough agrees to hire him 
and to give him as his wages whatever single request he shall ask at the 
end of a year. What he asks for is a ferule to fit his stick. The only 
ferule that will serve turns out to be at the bottom of a lake. The upshot 
of the matter is that Murough is obliged to dive through the lake into Tlr 
na n-Og, which lies below. There he finds that the King of Under-Wave 
Land has been robbed of all his possessions by a giant, and that the mon- 
ster is coming that very evening to carry off the king's daughter. Murough 
slays the giant and rescues the daughter. He is now escorted to the palace 
of King Under- Wave, where he finds his Gillie of the Ferule sitting on a 
golden throne with a silver cushion at his feet. After spending what seem 
to be several days in perpetual feasting, Murough thinks of returning. 
When he reaches Ireland, he finds that he has been absent a year and a 

The remarks of Dr. Hyde in his introduction to this tale throw 
so much light on the matter that I shall quote them at some length : 
"To those who are unaccustomed to the ways of the traditional 
Irish story-teller, The Lad of the Ferule will appear entirely wanting 
in sequence, though it really is not altogether so. . . . The reader 
familiar with Irish story-telling will understand at once that all this 

1 Edited, with a translation, by Douglas Hyde, for the Irish Texts Society, 
London, 1899, under the title of The Lad of the Ferule. 

I02 A. C. L. Brown. 

machinery of the hounds, the hunting, and the ferule was put in 
motion by a mysterious being, a god in fact (a similar being appears 
in some stories as Lugh, and in others as Manannan), to the end that 
he might save Tir na n-6g. It is he who appears as the messenger 
with the two hounds, and an untrue tale about the Queen of Pride. 
It is he again who, having by means of his hounds placed Murough 
in a dilemma, takes service with him as his gillie ; and it is he who 
finally entices him down into Tir na n-Og, and makes use of him to 
set free the country. I feel quite certain that this is4he way the story 
would be understood, and was meant to be understood, by all native Irish 
readers." ^ (The italics are mine.) 

Our study of the older stories enables us to take a step farther 
and to understand that " the tale about the Queen of Pride " was not 
originally " untrue " at all. The Queen of Pride ° is evidently the 
fee whose creature and servant, in an earlier form of the story, the 
Gillie of the Ferule really was. She no doubt sent him with the gift 
of the hounds, her object being to entice away the hero upon whom 
she had fixed her love. She must also have sent him, disguised as a 
gillie, to take service with Murough, and thus by the device of the 
Ferule to entrap him into diving into the lake. Probably she also 
sent out the giant, by combat with whom the hero could prove his 
valor. In the present form of the tale, the origfnal thread of con- 
nection is all but lost, the only clear hint being the casual indication 
that the Gillie of the Ferule is identical with King Under-Wave. 

The Gillie of the Ferule, however, though more or less confused, 
has not suffered any positive derangement. The same hero, 
Murough, still runs through the piece, and there is no evidence of 
any intentional remodelling. The story has apparently reached its 
present form as a result of successive slight and almost unintentional 
modifications. There are some Irish tales of this type that have 
not only suffered from such gradual decay, but have been actually 

1 Pp. viii-x. 

2 Dr. Schofield has reminded me of Lady Orguellouse, who several times appears 
in the romances (e.g. in Chretien, Perceval, ed. Potvin, III, 28, vv. 10,007 ff-) as 
dwelling in a mysterious castle. The name may come from some Celtic form 
like this. 

Iwain. 103 

remodelled by some stupid but ambitious transcriber. It happens 
that a tale of this kind, called The Slothful Gillie, is of importance 
in the present investigation because of a remarkable parallel it con- 
tains to Iwain's combat at the Fountain Perilous. 

The Slothful Gillie will no doubt appear at first entirely discon- 
nected to one who is not familiar with late Irish stories. It has, 
indeed, been stupidly remodelled in the latter part of the plot, 
and the original hero has been displaced by another. I must beg 
the reader, however, not to make up his mind that it is wholly lack- 
ing in sequence, even in its present shape, until he has run through 
at least half-a-dozen late Irish tales of the type to which it belongs,^ 
and has observed how commonly different appearances of the same 
Other-World creature have been misunderstood and represented as 
separate and entirely unrelated adventures. 

The tale of The Slothful Gillie exists unfortunately in no manu- 
script older than the eighteenth century. However, it is certainly 
at least as old as 1630, for it is mentioned in that year by Keating, 
the historian.^ It will be necessary to summarize it at considerable 
length in order to show fairly its precise character : 

1 See, for example, O'Grady, Silva Gadelica ; Joyce, Old Celtic Romances. A 
good example of a tale containing adventures apparently disconnected but definitely 
explained at the end as different appearances of the same shape-shifter, evidently 
an Other-World power, is the Amadhan Mor (Kennedy, Bardic Stories of Ireland, 
pp. 151-155). The hero first meets the Gruagach of the Gold Cup. On his 
drinking from the cup, his legs drop off below the knees. After the disappearance 
of the Gruagach of the Cup, leaving him in this plight, he is met by the Gruagach 
of the White Dog, who invites him to Dun an Oir, his abode, and promises to 
get the Gruagach of the Gold Cup into his power, and force him to restore to the 
hero his legs. The Gruagach of the White Dog now goes out to hunt, charging 
the hero to guard the palace till he returns. A mysterious stranger enters and is 
seized by the hero, who refuses, in spite of his struggles, to release him until he 
reveals who he is. Suddenly the stranger throws off his disguise. He is the Lord 
of the Gold Fort {Dun an Oir), who took the form of the Gruagach of the Gold 
Cup, and again that of the Gruagach of the White Dog, in order to lead the hero 
away to visit his land. He of course restores to the hero his legs, and makes 
them as strong as ever. 

2 See O'Curry, Lectures on the MS. Materials, p. 318. As the latter part of 
In Gilla Decair gives, as it seems, the cause of the Battle of Ventry (namely, 
the carrying off of Taise, daughter of the king of the Greeks), it may be argued 

I04 A. C. L. Brown. 


One day Finn was out hunting with his Fenians, when they saw 
approaching an ugly blaclc giant " devilish and misshapen," carrying a 
" black and loathly colored shield, and every limb of him was blacker than 
a smith's coal." He led, or rather dragged, by an iron chain an enormous 
horse, which continually baulked and had to be beaten with an iron club 
that the giant carried. [The club was so large that as the giant dragged it 
along, its end resting on the ground tore up a track as deep as the furrow 
a farmer ploughs with a yoke of oxen.] 

The big man came into Finn's presence and saluted him. His name is 
the Slothful Gillie (Gilla Decair), and he desires service under Finn. Finn, 
who never refused anybody, took the fellow into his pay and gave him per- 
mission to put his horse with the horses of the Fenians. No sooner, how- 
ever, had the monstrous horse come among the other horses than it began 
to lacerate and kill them with its hoofs and teeth. As the Slothful GiUie 
refused to restrain his animal, Conan caught it by the halter and by the 
advice of his comrades resolved to mount it and ride till he had broken its 
furious temper. But the horse refused to move. The Fenians thought 
that it would not stir till it had on its back a weight equal to that of the 
big gillie. They therefore climbed up behind Conan to the number of 

Suddenly the Slothful Gillie set off with the speed of the wind and his 
big horse followed him. Conan and his comrades attempted to throw 
themselves off, but they found that their hands and feet stuck fast to the 

that it is at least as old as the present form of the Finn cycle. Into the vexed 
question of the age of the Finn saga it is not possible to go. Barbour's Bruce 
(1380) mentions Finn in a way to show that he was well known. Five tales about 
Finn are mentioned in the celebrated list in the Book of Leinster (Hyde, Literary 
Hist, of Ireland, p. 382). Alfred Nutt has argued ( Waifs and Strays, II, 414), from 
the fact that no exploits of Finn against the Normans are related, that the Finn 
tales took their present form before 1066. 

1 Printed by O'Grady, Silva Gadelica, I, 258-276 (translation, II, 292-311), 
from Additional MS. 34,119 in the British Museum, which dates from 1765. The 
story has also been in great part translated by Joyce, Old Celtic Romances, 
pp. 223-273, from MS. R. I. A. 24. B. 28, written in 1728, with comparison of MS. 
R. I. A. 23. G. 21, written in 1795. The essential outline of the story is reproduced 
in the folk-tale printed by Curtin, Mac Cool, Hard Gillie, and High King {Hero- 
Tales of Ireland, pp. 514-529). In the summary I have followed O'Grady's trans- 
lation, except that the passages in brackets are inserted from Joyce. 

I wain. 105 

horse. The Fenians pursued, and Liagin the Swift managed to seize the 
horse's tail, to which, however, his hands stuck, and he was dragged along. 
The horse presently set foot on the sea, across which he travelled till the 
Fenians lost sight of him. 

Finn resolved to follow the fifteen men who had thus been carried away. 
Two skillful companions met him. One, the ship-maker, produced a magic 
boat by striking three strokes of his axe on a sling-stick that he had. The 
other, the sea-tracker, was able to follow the trail of the horse across the 
unknown sea. 

After a three days' voyage [in which they encountered a great storm] Finn 
and his comrades came to the foot of a precipice [towering to such a height 
that its head seemed hidden among the clouds], up which the sea-tracker 
informed them the trail of the big horse led. The voyagers now appealed 
to Diarmaid, saying that he had been brought up and taught by Mananndn 
mac Lir in the Land of Promise, and that it was a shame if he could not help 
them. Stung by their words, Diarmaid vaulted by means of his spear-shaft 
from the ship to the cliff and with great exertion made his way to the top. 

Diarmaid advanced alone through a waste and tangled woodland of 
densest thicket, which of all that he had ever ranged did most abound in 
foliage, in melody of birds, and in the hum of bees. He was aware of " a 
vast tree with interlacing boughs and thickly furnished." Close by the 
tree was a pillar stone provided with a pointed drinking cup and having at 
its base a fair well of water, clear as crystal [that bubbled up in the centre]. 
[Twice Diarmaid stooped to drink of the water with his lips, but each time 
he heard the heavy tread of a body of warriors and the clang of arms, 
which caused him to spring to his feet. The third time, however, he drank, 
using the drinking horn, which was chased with gold and enamelled with 
precious stones.] Scarcely had he put down the horn when he saw a 
Gruagach approaching, [clad in mail and wearing a scarlet mantle over 
his armor.] He did not greet Diarmaid, but upbraided him outrageously 
for roaming his forest and drinking of his fountain. Diarmaid and the 
Gruagach encountered each other vehemently and fought till sunset. 
Toward evening the Gruagach drew suddenly back, dived into the well, 
and disappeared. Next day the contest was renewed, and ended in the 
same manner. But at the close of the third day, when the Gruagach 
sought to dive, Diarmaid clasped his arm round him and sank with him 
to the bottom of the well. Arrived there, the Gruagach broke away. 
Diarmaid pursued and found himself in an open country, beautiful and 
flowery. He came to a city, which he entered, passing on to a citadel, 
" through the portal of which his enemy passed into a place of strength 

io6 A. C. L. Brown. 

and on him they shut the fortress-gates." Diarmaid fought with a host 
who were outside and slew them all. Then he lay down to sleep. 

He was awakened by a Gruagach, who escorted him to his palace and 
royally entertained him, healing his wounds and giving him splendid gar- 
ments. He told Diarmaid that this is Under-Wave Land (JTirfA Thuinn). 
The warrior with whom Diarmaid fought is called the Gruagach of the 
Well and is the King of Under-Wave Land. His own name is the Gruagach 
of Chivalry, and he has reason to be kind to Diarmaid, for he once spent a 
year in the service of Finn Mac Cool in Ireland. There is war between 
him and the Gruagach of the Fountain. 

Diarmaid, on hearing this, agreed to fight for the Gruagach of Chivalry. 
He slew his old adversary, the Gruagach of the Fountain, and won for his 
friend the kingship over Under-Wave Land. 

Meanwhile Finn and his folk had found their way up the cliff. They 
fell in with the King of Sorcha, who entertained them. The King of 
Sorcha was at war with the King of the Greeks and besought Finn to help 
him. A single combat was at length appointed between Finn and the son 
of the King of the Greeks. The maiden daughter of the King of the 
Greeks, Taise of the White Body, had fallen in love with Finn, and she 
obtained leave of her father to witness the duel. Finn slew his opponent. 
"Great as was the love which at the first Taise of the White Body had 
borne Finn, seven times so much she bestowed on him while he butchered 
her brother." 

That night Taise stole away to Finn. But the King of the Greeks heard 
of it and sent his messenger " provided with a certain special branch of 
great beauty, which when shaken threw the host into a trance of slumber," 
By the aid of the mysterious branch, the messenger was able to carry off 
Taise from the midst of the host of the Fenians. The king thereupon took 
his daughter and returned to Greece. 

Diarmaid now came up, and Finn was rejoiced to learn of his successful 
adventure. Diarmaid told Finn that the Gruagach of Chivalry had revealed 
by his magic art that it was Avaftach, son of AUchad [of the Many-Colored 
Raiment 1 who took the form of the Slothful Gillie and] carried away the 
fifteen Fenians into the Land of Promise. 

1 " Avartach mac Allchaid loldathach." This Avartach of the Many-Colored 
Raiment is mentioned along with Manannan mac Lir in The Pursuit of Diarmuid 
and Grainne (ed. Soc. for the Preserv. of Irish, Dublin, 1880, I, 52), where also 
Ilbhreac {" the variously spotted one"), son of Manannan, is referred to. This 
connection with Manannan seems to make it clear that the epithets loldathach, 
Ilbreac refer to shape-shifting, or change of color and form. 

Twain. 107 

Finn and his comrades thereupon made their way to the Land of Promise 
and recovered their companions. Avartach received them like a Icing and 
made them reparation. 

Before the Fenians returned to Ireland, Goll and Oscar were sent to 
Athens, where they stole away Taise and brought her back to Finn. The 
story ends with the wedding feast of Finn and Taise. 

If the reader will compare this tale of The Slothful Gillie with that 
of The Gillie of the Ferule, previously outlined, he will see that they 
belong to essentially the same type. Both are accounts of the 
doings of an Other-World being, who visits this earth in disguise 
and takes service as the giUie of a mortal hero. In both tales, his 
object is to lure a mortal champion to the Land beneath the Waves. 
In both tales, Tir fa Thuinn is reached by diving, though Diarmaid 
plunges into a well or fountain instead of into a lake as Murough 
is said to have done. 

Now in The Gillie of the Ferule, and in all the older tales of this 
particular type (such as the Serglige, the Loegaire, and the story of 
Pwyll and Arawn), the motive impelling the Other- World being to 
desire the visit of a mortal is oppression at the hands of a mysterious 
foe, whom only a particular mortal hero can overcome. Analogy 
suggests that this must have been the case with Avartach, and dis- 
tinct evidence that such was really the motive of his disguise as the 
Slothful Gillie is not lacking. 

The Gruagach of Chivalry is oppressed by a powerful enemy and 
welcomes Diarmaid, who does actually slay this foe and thus makes 
his friend king of all Tir fd Thuinn, just as a similar exploit of a 
mortal hero made Fiachna king of all Mag Mell, and Arawn king of 
all Annwn. Who is this Gruagach of Chivalry, whose name suggests 
that he is somebody in disguise "i All we know about him is that 
" he has good reason to be kind to Diarmaid, for he once spent 
a year in the service of Finn." Now Avartach, in the shape of 
the Slothful Gillie, was for a time in the service of Finn. Clearly 
the Gruagach of Chivalry is only Avartach in another disguise.^ The 

1 The last transcriber of In Gilla Decair has not understood this identity or 
he would not have said " a year," for the Slothful Gillie is not represented as being 
in Finn's service for any length of time. 

io8 A. C. L. Brown. 

travellers do not find out who he is until they reach his palace, just 
as Murough does not seem, even after he has reached the Other 
World, to recognize his Gillie of the Ferule until he enters his 
palace and sees him sitting on his golden throne. That the Grua- 
gach of Chivalry is identical with Avartach is confirmed by the 
remark, " It was the Gruagach of Chivalry who revealed by his magic 
art that it was Avartach of the Many-Colored Raiment who took the 
form of the Slothful Gillie and carried off the fifteen Fenians into 
71r Tairngiri" which would mean that he revealed to him that " it 
was himself, the shape-shifter, who came in the form of the Slothful 
Gillie." No reader of Irish tales can have much doubt on this 
point. Analogous situations are not uncommon. In the Amadhan 
Mor, for example, the Gruagach of the White Dog and the Gruagach 
of the Gold Cup are two forms of the same Other- World being, yet 
the Gruagach of the White Dog tells the hero that " he will get the 
Gruagach of the Gold Cup into his power and force him to restore 
the hero's legs." No other hint of their identity is given till the 
very end of the tale. Such an explanation at the end, if it ever 
existed in the Gilla Decair, may readily have dropped out in the 
evident working-over which that part of the tale has undergone. If 
the Gruagach of Chivalry is identical with Avartach, it is plain that 
the coming of the Slothful Gillie was really to secure assistance 
against the Gruagach of the Fountain, and the parallelism with the 
Giolla an Fhiugha and the older tales is complete. 

Whether this particular parallel can be regarded as established or 
not, the fact that the Gilla Decair is an Other-World story of the 
type of the Giolla an Fhiugha, and therefore of the Serglige, the 
Loegaire, the Tale of Curoi, and the tale of Pwyll and Arawn, seems 
certain. The character of Avartach,^ a confessed shape-shifter, who 
is called " the man of the many-colored raiment," is enough by itself, 
in view of the evident Other-World character of the story, to decide 

^ It would be natural to suppose that some connection must exist between 
Avartach and Avallach, the Welsh name both for the Other World and for 
the King of the Other World, were it not that the phonetic change of Welsh 
// to Irish rt is contrary to rule. The two names, however, as pronounced, 
would sound very nearly alike. 

I wain. 


this. The Gilla Decair, then, belongs to the particular type of 
Other-World tale to which, as has been shown, Chretien's Ivain, 
even in its present form, closely approximates. We might expect, 
therefore, that a study of In Gilla Decair would throw light on the 
rather confusedly rationalized tale of Iwain. 

It will be remembered that the theme of the Giant Herdsman in 
the Ivain is distinctly traceable in the older Mailduin,^ and that the 
original function of this ugly monster was doubtless to point out the 
way to the Other World. Is it not more than a mere coincidence 
that in In Gilla Decair the black giant with the enormous horse 
comes expressly to guide the heroes to the Other World.? The 
descriptions of these two monsters are strikingly similar: 

In Gilla Decair. Ivain. 

An ugly creature, devilish and A monstrous and hideous churl, 
misshapen, carrying a black and who resembled a Moor and was so 
loathly colored shield, and every ugly that he could not be described, 
limb of him was blacker than a This creature sat on a stump, hold- 
smith's coal. He dragged on the ing a great club in his hand, 
ground an iron club so great that it He had a head larger than that 
tore up a track as deep as the fur- of a horse, etc. 
row a farmer ploughs with a yoke 
of oxen. 

The Slothful Gillie is not, to be sure, represented as a herdsman 
in charge, of fighting bulls, but he does possess a fighting animal of 
his own. His enormous horse, when let loose among the horses of 
the Fenians, " began to lacerate and kill them with its hoofs and 
teeth." It will be remembered that in the Mailduin we have found 
the Giant Herdsman motive represented (§ 9) by "many great animals 
like unto horses which were fighting each other. Each would take 
a piece out of another's side and carry it away with its skin and 
its flesh, so that out of their sides streams of crimson blood were 
flowing." ^ In an older form of the theme, the monstrous animals 

1 See p. 73, above. ^ See p. 61, above. 

no A. C. L. Brown. 

may well have been more like horses than bulls. The change to 
cattle would be a step toward rationalization, for a cattle-driver was 
a not uncommon object.^ 

Now the Slothful Gillie we know to have been Avartach, an Other- 
World being in disguise. By analogy, therefore, we are able to 
explain the presence of the Giant Herdsman in the Ivain. He was 
originally the creature of the fie, sent by her to guide the hero to 
the Other World. 

^ Of course it is only contended that the Slothful Gillie and the Giant Herds- 
man may go back to the same stock incident of the Celtic Journey to the Other 
World. If the Slothful Gillie theme be founded on the Giant Herdsman motive, 
it has certainly experienced an entirely different development. The idea of repre- 
senting the Gillie's horse as carrying off certain mortals to the Other World is 
no doubt the result of contamination with another theme, which, however, is 
itself almost certainly Celtic. In the earliest tales (the Serglige, the Bran) Man- 
annan is seen driving in a chariot over the sea, while in the Story of Ciabdn we 
have found him carrying the heroes on the back of his horse to the Land beyond 
the Waves. Avartach is a parallel figure to Manannan, and it is natural to have 
him turn up with a steed like Manannan's horse Enbarr, which travelled equally 
well by sea or by land (see p. 42, note, above) The use of horses to return from 
the Other World appears in the ancient Tale of Loegaire (cf. the Welsh Herla), and 
the use of a magic steed to reach the Other World appears constantly in modern 
Celtic folk-tales. The motive is, therefore, almost certainly ancient Celtic. 

The incident of cleaving fast to an object and being carried off with it to the 
Other World is perhaps also Celtic. In the Mabinogi Manawyddan Son of Llyr 
(Loth, Les Mabinogion, I, 106), Pryderi and Rhiannon enter a mysterious palace, 
and place their hands on a bowl they find there. Their hands immediately stick, 
so that they cannot escape. The palace presently vanishes, and Pryderi and 
Rhiannon are found to have been carried to the Other World. The incident of 
successive riders who mount the same horse and are all stuck fast and carried off 
into a lake occurs in a modern Golspie tale (Nicholson, Golspie, London, 1897, 
pp. 21-23; ^ reference which I owe to Professor Kittredge). No one would 
maintain that tlie motive of magically adhering to an object is of especially Celtic 
origin. In The Chase of Slieve Fuad (Joyce, Old Celtic Romances, p. 376), the 
heroes cleave to the floor of the Other-World dungeon of the giant Dryantore. 
In the Fairy Palace of the Quicken Trees (Joyce, p. 193), Finn and his comrades 
cleave to their seats so that they cannot arise. See J. F. Campbell, Popular Tales 
of the West Highlands, I, 36; MacDougall, Folk and Hero Tales, p. 164; and, 
outside of Celtic ground. The Tale of the Basyn, Hazlitt, Early Popular Poetry 
of England, III, 42-53 ; the Prose Edda, Bragarce&ur, chap. 56. Vulcan also 
had a seat from which nobody could arise (Prato, Zt.f Volkskunde, I, 113). 

Twain. i j i 

In the Gilla Decair, the Other-World power Avartach comes in 
the shape of a black giant to lure the Fenians to Tir fd Thuinn. 
Diarmaid, who has been trained up by Manannan, actually reaches 
Under-Wave Land, and frees Avartach, who appears under the name 
of the Gruagach of Chivalry, from an oppressing tyrant, the Grua- 
gach of the Fountain. As a reward, he ought, on the analogy of 
all the older stories, to receive the hand of a fee. Instead of that, 
he drops out of the tale, and Finn is suddenly exalted to the leading 
position. It is incredible that the tale in any primitive form could 
have thus changed protagonists at the centre of the action. The 
story appears, then, to have been confused at this point, and Finn 
has been introduced in place of Diarmaid. Finn takes sides with 
the King of Sorcha, an Other-World ruler, and frees him from the 
oppression of the King of the Greeks. He wins the love of Taise 
of the White Body, daughter of the King of the Greeks. Taise is 
evidently a rationalized fie. If the analogy of other modern Irish 
tales, in which the King of the Greeks regularly represents a partly 
rationalized King of the Fairies (see p. 97, above), were not suffi- 
cient to prove this, the magic branch employed by the messenger of 
the King of the Greeks should settle the point. Parallels to this 
branch run through the ancient Celtic fairy stories.^ In a more 
primitive form of the Gilla Decair tale, Finn did probably visit the 
Other World and encounter there Diarmaid, who had successfully 
accomplished the Other- World adventure, just as Arthur in the Ivaiti 
comes to the Fountain Perilous and is entertained at Laudine's castle 
by the successful hero.^ Finn ought not, however, to win the hand of 

' See the Imram Brain and the Echtra Cormaic. 

2 Alfred Nutt ( Voyage of Bran, I, 140) has drawn a number of parallels between 
Finn and Arthur. Both have birth stories, enfances, unfaithful wives, and traitor- 
ous nephews. To this I would add that both made journeys to the Other World, 
and that Finn's meeting with Diarmaid, who has successfully accomplished the 
adventure of Tir fd Thuinn, is a scene very similar to Arthur's meeting with 
the successful Iwain at I.audine's castle. 

That the attribution to Finn of a journey to the Other World was made very 
early seems indicated by a poem in the Book of Leinster (edited and translated 
by Stokes, Rev. Celt., VII, 289-307), which describes the visit of Finn and his 
companions to a land of monstrous beings, with whom they have an all-night 

112 A. C. L. Brown. 

the fee. It is Diarmaid, not Finn, who was brought up in the Land 
of Promise by Manannan mac Lir, and who was thus specially edu- 
cated, as it were, for the Other-World adventure. It is Diarmaid, 
" the best lover of women and maidens in the whole world," ^ — 
Diarmaid, who had a beauty spot that made every woman who saw 
it fall in love with him, — who would naturally win the /Se. More- 
over, there are numbers of later tales that represent Diarmaid as the 
hero of a fairy mistress story.^ Hence it is probable that, as Conan; 

combat. Alfred Nutt (IVai/s and Strays, IV, ii, 283) has given a reference to 
Dunbar which shows that in the time of the poet {1450-1525) Finn or Finn's 
followers were credited with harrowing hell. 

1 The Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne (ed. Soc. for the Preserv. of Irish, 
1880, I, 7). 

^ In a modern folk-tale, Dyeermud Ulta and the King in South Erin (Curtin, 
Hero-Tales, pp. 182 fiE., from County Donegal), Dyeermud sees a red champion in 
a ship that is sailing along the country like any ship at sea. (The Other-World 
ship, like the Other-World horse, regularly travels by land as well as by sea : cf. 
Bran, § 42 ; Mailduin, § 23 ; and a passage from the Book of Leinster, translated 
by O'Grady, Silva Cadelica, II, 453, where three ships navigating the air over 
men's heads are described.) By the aid of the red champion, Dyeermud is able 
to sail up to a castle situated twenty miles from the sea, the lord of which had 
declared that he would give his daughter to nobody except the man who could 
come to his castle gate in a three-masted ship. After overcoming the lord of the 
castle, Dyeermud marries his daughter. In a West Highland tale (Campbell, III, 
403-420), Diarmaid visits the Other World and marries the daughter of King 
Under- Wave. 

In a modern Irish tale, Fin Mac Cool, Faolan, and the Mountain of Happiness 
(Curtin, Hero-Tales, pp. 489 ff., from County Kerry), Dyeermud wins a fairy 
mistress from a revolving castle after having first overcome the Black Blue Giant, 
her father. This gianfis said " to know every place in the world," so that he is 
probably an enchanter like Avartach, and his name (Black Blue) is probably a 
reference to his power of changing color and shape. Curiously enough it is said 
that the giant's daughter was already in love with Dyeermud, having seen him 
once in combat with the Prince of the Greeks on Ventry Strand. It will be 
remembered that, in the Gilla Decair, Taise falls in love with Finn when she sees 
him in combat with the Prince of the Greeks, her brother. It is possible to hold 
that the stories refer to the same incident, and that the modem tale of Dyeermud 
has preserved the original situation in the Gilla Decair, of which all analogy shows 
Diarmaid must once have been the hero. Nor is the ascription of the Other- 
World adventure to Diarmaid a modern idea. The Pursuit of Diarmuid and 
Grainne is mentioned in the list of stories given in the Book of Leinster (Hyde, 

I wain. 1 1 3 

the backbiter of the Finn cycle, was a parallel figure to Kay, so 
Diarmaid was a parallel figure to Iwain (or Gawain) as its typical 
Other-World adventurer. 

We cannot be quite sure what has happened to the tale of the 
Gilla Decair at the point where Diarmaid drops out of sight,^ but it 
seems probable that Finn has been inserted in place of his follower. 
In the original form of the story, then, we must infer that Taise the 
fee fell in love with Diarmaid. She sent Avartach, the shape-shifter, 
in the form of the Slothful Gillie, to lure the Fenians to her land. 
She then appointed another of her creatures, the Gruagach of the 
Fountain, to encounter Diarmaid and test his valor, and only at the 
last, when the hero had successfully overthrown this Gruagach and 
other enemies, did she bestow on him her hand. The King of 
Sorcha must be a later name for Avartach, and the King of the 
Greeks, for the Gruagach of the Fountain. 

Our inference that such was the original form of the tale seems to 
be supported by the remark : " Great as was at the first the love 
which Taise of the White Body had borne Finn, seven times so 
much she bestowed on him while he butchered her brother." " Her 
brother " was of course not originally a brother at all. He was one 
of her creatures, sent out to test the hero's valor, like the monsters 
sent out to attack Cuchulinn at the castle of Curoi. Hence she 
rejoiced to see the hero conquer him, just as Blathnat had kind 
words for Cuchulinn when he entered the fort victorious.^ We have, 
indeed, in the rationalized description of the opposing warrior as the 
lady's brother a parallel to the Tale of Curoi and, I may add, to the 
Ivain, where the opponent is called the lady's husband. 

Lit. Hist, of Ireland, pp. 350 ff.), and it contains a well-defined Other-World 
incident of which Diarmaid is the hero. There is a marvellous quicken tree 
sprung from one of the berries of the Land of Promise and guarded by a giant 
whom Diarmaid slays {Pursuit of Diarmuid and Grainne, ed. See. for Preserv. of 
Irish, 1880, I, 53 ff.) ; cf. Lay of Diarmaid, J. F. Campbell, Popular Talcs of the 
West Highlands, III, 50 ff. 

1 It is quite possible, for example, that a fairy mistress story about Finn has 
been worked into the Gilla Decair, and substituted for the original adventures 
of Diarmaid. 

2 See p. 51, above. 

1 14 A. C. L. Brown. 

If this reconstruction be sound, — and it is supported by the 
analogy both of ancient and of later Celtic stories, — we are able, 
by comparison, to see the original thread on which were strung 
together several adventures of the Tvain that have hitherto seemed 
rather disconnected. The Giant Herdsman, and probably therefore 
the Hospitable Host, must originally have been different appear- 
ances of the same Other- World being,^ a shape-shifter commissioned 
by \.h.e.fie to guide the hero to her land. The story must once have 
run somewhat as follows : The fid, Laudine, fell in love with 
Iwain, and sent her attendant maiden Lunete to Arthur's court 
to invite the visit of mortal heroes. Calogrenant was the first to 
accept, but, not being the chosen one, he returned in discomfiture. 
At last Iwain set out. The Hospitable Host is the creature of the 
fie appointed to further his journey. The Giant Herdsman is 
another appearance of the same shape-shifter, designed to point out 
the particular path that leads to the Other World. Esclados le Ros 
was at first also only another of th&fie's creatures, whose object was 
to try the hero's valor. If the hero overcame this mysterious giant, 
he was to be rewarded with the hand of the fee. This last situation 
was very early misunderstood, and probably long before the material 
reached Chre'tien had been changed into a combat with the lady's 
husband. Thus by natural steps may have arisen that theme of the 
sudden marriage of a newly bereaved widow to the slayer of her 
husband which has been such a puzzle to the critics. 

However, it is not necessary to postulate any of the theories just 
outlined in order to prove that the Gilla Becair belongs to that type 
of Other- World adventure of which the Serglige Conculaind is a good 
example. Nor is it even necessary to accept the plausible recon- 
struction of the Gilla Decair story which would retain Diarmaid as 
the hero throughout. Putting aside every particle of theory, and 
comparing the Gilla Decair, just as it is, with stories like the Serg- 
lige, the Loegaire, and the Tale of Curoi, I do not see how it is possi- 
ble to avoid the conviction that these stories all belong to the same 

1 Baist, Zt.f. rom. Phil., XXI, 403, has remarked that the Hospitable Host 
and the Giant Herdsman may originally have had some more intimate connection 
with the adventure than any which appears in the Ivain. 



type. Like the rest, the Gilla Decair is an Other-World Journey. 
As in the other stories, the visit of the mortal heroes was invited 
and a combat in the Other World is a central incident. Above all, 
the character of Avartach, so strikingly similar to that of Manannan, 
of Arawn, and of Curoi, puts the identity of type beyond a reason- 
able doubt. 

The tale of the Gilla Decair, then, belongs to a type to which it 
has been shown that Chretien's Ivain closely approximates. It is 
natural, therefore, to expect to find in it certain of the stock motives 
of the Celtic Other-World Journey preserved in a form very like that 
in which they occur in the Ivain. And this is exactly what we seem 
to find. As has been said, the parallel that it contains to the whole 
scene of the combat at the Fountain Perilous is of the most signifi- 
cant character : 

1. In both tales, the hero finds tangled woods of densest thicket : 

Et trovai un chemin a destre 

Parmi une forest espesse. 

Mout i ot voie felenesse, 

De ronces et d'espines plainne (vv. i8o ff.). 

2. In both, he hears the song of birds : 

Et trestuit li oisel chantoient 

Si que trestuit s'antracordoient (vv. 465-466). 

3. In both, there is a vast tree : 

Onbre li fet li plus biaus (or hauz) arbres 
Qu'onques po'ist feire nature (vv. 382-383). 

4. With thickly interlacing boughs : 

Que ce estoit li plus biaus pins 

Qui onques sor terre creiist. 

Ne cuit qu'onques si fort pleiist 

Que d'iaue i passast une gote (vv. 414 ff.). 

5. And there is a notable stone : 

Un perron tel con tu verras (v. 390). 

6. To which belongs a golden drinking vessel : 

A I'arbre vi le bacin pandre 
Del plus fin or qui fust a vandre 
Onques ancor an nule foire (vv. 419 ff.). 

ii6 A. C. L. Brown. 

7. Immediately beneath the tree, and beside the stone, there is a 
bubbling spring : 

De la fontainne poez croire 

Qu'ele boloit com iaue chaude (vv. 422, 423). 

8. In both stories, troubling the fountain provokes the appear- 
ance of a hostile warrior, who makes so much noise with his armor 
that before he appears the hero thinks a whole band of armed men 
is approaching : 

Tant i fui que j'c'i venir 
Chevaliers, ce me fu avis — 
Bien cuidai que il fussent dis : 
Tel noise et tel fraint demenoit 
Uns seus chevaliers qui venoit (vv. 478 f£.). 

Li chevaliers a si grant bruit 

Con s'il chagast un cerf de ruit (vv. 813-814). 

9. In both tales, the warrior does not greet the hero, but reproaches 
him vehemently for damaging his dominions : 

De si haut com il pot crier, 

Me comanga a desfier, etc. (vv. 489 ff.). 

10. This warrior is in one tale clad in red, and in the other is called 

Esclados le Ros (v. 1970). 

11. In both, the hero overcomes his adversary, and, pursuing him, 
enters into a magic land. 

12. In both, the escaping warrior flees through the streets of a 
city and enters a citadel, the gates of which are shut behind him. 

It is clear that a whole chapter, so to speak, out of the Gilla 
Decair is strikingly similar both in incident and in arrangement to a 
corresponding portion of the Ivain. The resemblances, it will be noted, 
sometimes extend to very minute details, such as the interlacing boughs 
of the tree and the clatter made by the approaching warrior. 

Several scholars ■' have pointed out the practical identity of this 

1 Macbain, Celtic Magazine, IX, 278 (1884) ; Alfred Nutt, Celtic Magazine, XII, 
555 (1887); Rhys, Hibbert Lectures, pp. 187 ff. (1888); F. Lot, Romania, XXI, 67 ff. 
(1892). No one of the last three scholars refers to any of his predecessors. 

Iwain. 117 

episode in the Gilla Decair with the adventure at the Fountain in 
the Ivain, and Ferdinand Lot has summed up the situation thus : 
"En rdsumd, nous sommes en presence de trois hypotheses: i° ou 
bien ce theme est irlandais, et alors son origine celtique est patente ; 
2° ou bien il est empruntd k quelque poete frangais (Chretien ou 
autre) ; je n'insiste pas sur cette supposition qui me parait chim^- 
rique ; 3° Chretien de Troyes et le conte irlandais ont une source 
commune, et cette source est quelque Idgende galloise. La premifere 
hypothfese me parait, quant k moi, la plus vraisemblable. En tout 
cas, ce thfeme est celtique, bien celtique, et c'est une nouvelle preuve 
de I'origine celtique des r^cits utilises par Chretien." ^ 

Lot, though recognizing the probability that the theme is really 
Celtic, made no systematic effort to disprove the second hypothesis, 
which he mentioned but for himself rejected. The limits of his 
article did not permit him to study the ways of the later Irish story- 
teller,^ and to show that the present confused form of the Gilla 
Decair story may well be the result of the dislocation of an ancient 
Celtic Other-World tale. 

To one who has followed the development of stories of this type 
from the Serglige to The Gillie of the Ferule, Lot's second hypoth- 
esis must seem altogether untenable. There are several incidents 
in the episode under discussion which cannot have been taken from 
Chretien, and are indeed more primitive than the corresponding 
features of the account in the Ivain. The challenge by drinking at 
a fountain is a simpler and older form of the motive than that by 
pouring water on a rock and thus provoking a furious storm. ° Diar- 
maid's diving beneath the water in order to reach Tir fa Thuinn is a 

1 Romania, XXI, 71. 

^ Lot says (p. 71) : " Cet episode semble intercale dans la Poursuite de Cilia 
Backer, car il n'est pas utile au reste du recit." He adds a note, however, which 
shows that he had not rejected the possibility of a different explanation : " Cepen- 
dant je n'en repondrais pas absolument. Presque toutes les legendes irlandaises 
nous semblent se composer d'episodes qui ne se rattachent pas nettement les uns 
aux autres ; c'est du moins I'impression qu'elles produisent sur nous autres Fran- 
gais, qui voulons une certaine suite, meme dans le fantastique." 

' Lot has noted this. 

ii8 A. C. L. Brown. 

very ancient motive, which can hardly have been the insertion of 
a late copyist. Loegaire^, according to the Book of Leinster, plunged 
into a loch to reach Mag Mell. In the Fled Bricrend, Terror, who 
is a mere duplicate of Curoi, departed into the loch, and in The Gillie 
of the Ferule, Murough reached Under- Wave Land by diving into a 
lake. The incident appears to be a survival. 

To pass over these apparent survivals of primitive incidents, the 
real point that makes the theory of borrowing impossible is this : 
How could a late compiler, who ex hypothesi knew nothing of the 
real character of the Ivain, have had the miraculous fortune to insert 
his extract from Chretien into exactly that type of story to which 
investigation makes it clear that the Ivain originally belonged ? Is 
it by chance that the adventure is attributed to Diarmaid, who was 
trained up by Manannan mac Lir and was well, understood to be 
the Other-World adventurer of the Finn cycle ? And, above all, is 
it by chance that Avartach is introduced into the story, — a figure 
exactly parallel to Manannan, to Arawn, to Curoi, and to the Other- 
World actor who must have played an important part in an older 
form of the tale of Iwain ? No matter what views one may enter- 
tain as to the precise make-up of the Gilla Decair, the chances 
against such an hypothesis as this are enormous. 

This episode in the Gilla Decair must, then, be a survival of a 
primitive Celtic theme which long ago made its way into French 
literature and has been preserved in the Ivain. The Celtic origin 
of the main portion of Chretien's poem is therefore settled beyond 

It must not be supposed, however, that the proof of the depend- 
ence of the Ivain on a Celtic story of the type conveniently repre- 
sented by the Serglige rests in any way on the Gilla Decair. The 
present chapter, dealing with the later Irish stories, has been written 
only with the intention of confirming an hypothesis already put 
practically beyond the reach of doubt by the ancient documents. 
We have found in the more modern Irish literature just those resem- 
blances to the Ivaiit that one might expect if the theory of Celtic 
origin be true. The case, however, really rests on the ancient 
tales. Therefore, even if it should at some time be proved that 
the striking resemblances between the Gilla Decair and the Ivain 

Twain. 119 

are due to a knowledge of Chretien's poem, the argument for the 
Celtic origin of the Ivain would not be sensibly weakened, much 
less overthrown.^ 


To prove a .basis in Celtic tradition for the story of Chretien's 
Ivain, the supposition that the particular hero, after whom the 
romance is named, was well known among the Celts as an Other- 
World adventurer is not a necessary prerequisite. The Other-World 
story was told of various heroes from Connla to the Welsh Herla, 
and it may not have got attached to Iwain till very shortly before the 
time of Chretien. 

Even if our information about Celtic legend were tolerably com- 
plete (which is not the case), a critic who should urge that, because 
Iwain does not in any extant Celtic story appear as an Other- World 
adventurer, therefore Chretien's romance called Ivain cannot go back 
to Celtic sources, would be making a very weak objection indeed. 

1 All possibility of the influence of Chretien on the episode in the Gilla Decair 
seems, however, practically excluded. The only hypothesis of this sort that is 
rationally thinkable, so far as I can see, is that the Gilla Decair story, in an earlier 
form, possessed an incident so similar to that at the Fountain Perilous that some 
Irish transcriber who was familiar with Chretien (there is a late Irish version of 
the Ivain, Echtra Kidire na Leoman, in an eighteenth-century MS., H. 2. 6, at 
Trinity College, Dublin ; see Zimmer, Gott. Gel. Anz., 1890, p. 510) noticed the 
resemblance and modified his original in places in order to produce that practical 
identity of detail that we now observe. A transcriber, however, who worked in 
this way would probably have made the resemblance complete. He would surely, 
for example, have omitted the dive into the fountain. Besides, this is really a 
question-begging hypothesis, after all, for either the transcriber must have been a 
man of such supernatural insight that he could anticipate the results of modern 
investigation, or the resemblances even in the first place must have been so 
striking that a presumably not over-intelligent Irishman of several centuries ago 
could easily recognize them. Surely, if either of these alternatives be granted, it 
is all that any advocate of the Celtic theory need desire. 

I20 A. C. L. Brown. 

He would be assuming that a story never changes its protagonist. 
The truth is quite otherwise. A student of literary origins early 
learns that, although incidents survive and may be safely used to 
trace a source, the name of the hero of any particular incident 
changes with considerable facility. "^ In the present discussion, there- 
fore, any argument that should depend for its validity upon the 
assumed persistence of a single proper name has been, and ought to 
be as far as possible, excluded. 

Notwithstanding this fact, it is worth while to observe that the 
inherent probability that Owen, who was one of the best known and 
most celebrated heroes of the Welsh,^ became in popular legend an 
Other- World adventurer, is supported by the circumstance that sev- 
eral French romances contain incidents plainly of Celtic origin in 
which Iwain is associated with the Other World. Of course these 
incidents prove nothing, because Iwain may not have been their 
original hero, but they are interesting, and they will be cited since 
they serve to establish a kind of presumption that Iwain was well 
known as an Other-World adventurer. 

In the Bataille Loquifer^ a twelfth-century romance, three fies 
appear and say: "Let us carry Rainouart to Avalon and make him 
live in the midst of our friends. King Arthur, Yvain de Galles, Gau- 
vain, and Roland." Rainouart is accordingly borne to Avalon, 
where he is made to fight the cat Chapalu. 

In the prose Lancelot,^ Iwain appears as a prisoner in a mysterious 
castle.* He is detained by Morgain la Fde. The region where the 
castle is located is called '.' Le Val sans Retour " and can be reached 

1 Compare, to mention well-known examples only, how in the Arthurian 
romances Galahad usurped the position of Grail Hero, earlier assigned to Per- 
ceval ; and in the chansons de geste, how Charlemagne became the central figure 
of adventures originally belonging to Charles Martel and Charles the Bald. 

2 For evidence of the early and great popularity of Owen among the Welsh, see 
Skene, Four Ancient Books of Wales, index, s.v. Owen. 

8 See Hist. Lift., XXII, 535-536. 

* P. Paris, Les Romans de la Table Ronde, IV, Lancelot du Lac, pp. 283-293. 
Cf. Ill, 362, where Yvain is prisoner to Morganor. 

6 In Claris et Laris (ed. Alton, pp. 17 ff.), a thirteenth-century romance, Iwain 
is released from prison by Claris and Laris. This is perhaps a rationalization of the 
incident discussed above. 

Iwain. 121 

only by a narrow passage, guarded by five armed knights. Lancelot 
traverses the difficult passage, overthrows the knights, passes a wall 
of flames, ascends a staircase guarded by three warriors, and is at 
last successful in releasing Iwain and the other prisoners of Morgain. 
When the prisoners are released, Le Val sans Retour, its castles, its 
walls, its warriors, and its enchantments suddenly vanish. 

This "Val sans Retour" appears to be identical with the place 
described in Chretien's Lancelot as Meleagant's prison. Meleagant's 
prison was in the realm "don nus n'eschape,"^ and could be reached 
only by two mysterious bridges, one passing under water and the 
other consisting of a sharp sword. The prisoners in it were likewise 
released by Lancelot. 

Meleagant's prison, as Paris has shown, ^ is really the Other World, 
the Land of the Dead.° It is highly probable, therefore, that this 

lEd. Foerster, Der Karrenritter, 1899, v. 1948; cf. vv. 657 ff. 

2 Romania, XII, 459-534. 

8 Compare a passage in Chretien's Lancelot where there is a cemetery described, 
full of tombs, upon the covers of which are inscribed the names of those who are 
to lie there. Lancelot enters : 

Comanja les letres a lire, 

Et trova : " Ci girra Gauvains, 

Ci Looys et cl Yvains." 

Apr6s cez trois i a mainz liz 

Des nons des chevaliers esliz, 

Des plus prisiez et des meillors 

Et de cele terre et d'aillors (w. 1876 ff.). 

Lancelot comes at length to a marble tomb, more beautiful than the others, on 

which is written : 

Cil qui levera 
Ceste lame seus par son cors, 
Cetera ceus et celes fors, 
Qui sont an la terre an prison (w. 1912 ff.). 

To the intense astonishment of his guide, Lancelot is able to raise the cover of 
this tomb. He is thereupon told that he is the destined one 

qui deliverra 
Toz ces qui sont pris a la trape 
El reaume don nus n'eschape (vv. 1946 ff.). 

This story is obscurely told, but it appears possible that it, too, is a confused 
rationalization of some more primitive incident in which Iwain was represented as 
imprisoned in the Other World. 

122 A. C. L. Brown. 

imprisonment of Iwain in " Le Val sans Retour " described in the 
prose Lancelot is a partial rationalization of some older story that 
represented Iwain as having undertaken a journey to the Other 
World. It is exactly what would be expected if Iwain was, among 
the Celts, a well-known Other- World adventurer, like Connla or 
Cuchulinn. From the Adventures of Teigue (p. 74, above) it is plain 
that Connla was thought of as living in the Other World. Stories 
representing Iwain as dwelling in Avalon or in the Realm of the 
Dead might easily find their way into the French romances. 

In view of this fact, one is tempted to suggest that Owain Miles, 
the legend of whose journey to Purgatory and Paradise appeared in 
the twelfth century * and made its way into almost all the literatures 
of Western Europe, is really the same person as Sir Iwain, Arthur's 
knight,'' and that the visit to Purgatory was ascribed to him because 
of his well-known connection with the Other World. Nothing is 
easier than the transition from the Celtic Other World to the 
Christian Purgatory and Paradise. As has been said in a previous 
chapter, the Happy Other World became confused with the Christian 
Earthly Paradise. This identification once under way, a connection 
with Purgatory, a place of punishment, would not be difficult.' The 
story of Owain Miles, moreover, though based in general on the 
widely spread Christian vision-literature of the Middle Ages, differs 
from the mediaeval type to which it belongs in several features, which 
seem to show the influence of Celtic Other-World journey. 

While the typical visit to Purgatory and Paradise is a vision and 
the narrator has no idea of the road by which he travelled, it is clear 

1 The first mention of the Purgatory of St. Patrick is made by the monk Jocelin 
of Furness in his Vita Sancti Patricii (about 1183). The oldest account of a 
journey through the cavern called the Purgatory of St. Patrick is the Tractatus de 
Purgatorio Sancti Patricii, written by H[enry?] of Saltrey, probably about 1188. 
From this Latin Tractatus, Marie's Espttrgatoire, the English Owain Miles, and 
other versions are derived (see Jenkins, L' Espurgatoire of Marie, pp. i ff.). See 
also E. J. Becker, Contrib. to the Comp. Study of the Med. Visions, etc., 1899; 
G. P. Knapp, St. Patrick's Purgatory, 1900. 

"^ This suggestion was made in 1820 by Roquefort, Marie de France, II, 405. 

8 Confusion of fairyland with hell and of the fairies with evil spirits is not 
uncommon in later tales. It is especially frequent in the tales of Brittany (cf. Le 
Braz, La Ligende de la Mart, 1893, pp. 459 ff.), but is often found elsewhere. 

Twain. 123 

that Owain Miles went in the body, and the place by which he 
entered the Other World is defined exactly. The so-called Purga- 
tory of St. Patrick is a cave situated upon an island in Lough Dearg, 
County Donegal, Ireland. Moreover, Owain is described as a 
soldier 1; " Contigit autem hijs nostris temporibus, diebus scihcet 
Regis stephani, ut miles quidam nomine Owein [MS. K also reads 
Cze'««], de quo presens est narratio," etc. He has been an exceed- 
ingly wicked man, but has repented, and as a penance has resolved 
to enter the Purgatory. He is conducted thither by the monks of 
the place, who sing a solemn service over him. They warn him ear- 
nestly of the peril of the adventure, but he is described as " vir virilem 
in pectore gerens animum . . . qui ergo armis munitus ferreis bellis 
interfuerat hominum quam plurimis, fide, spe et justitia armatus ad 
pugnam audacter prorumpit demonum." ^ 

It is evident that Owain has been a great warrior, a circumstance 
not usual in mediaeval vision-literature. It is therefore possible that 
the epithet " Miles " may be a survival of his knightly character.* 

Owain's adventures in Purgatory have no similarity to the inci- 
dents of Celtic Other-World journeys, but when he has passed this 
dismal region, he finds that the entrance to Paradisus Terrestris lies 
across a narrow bridge that may show traces of Celtic influence : 

The brigge was as heighe as a tour 
And as scharpe as a rasour 

And naru it was also, 
And the water that ther ran under 
Brand o lighting and of thonder, 

That thought him michel wo.* 

1 Quoted from Mall's edition of the Tractatus, MS. A (Romanische Forschungen, 
VI, 153). For a somewhat different version of Owain's journey, see Matthew 
Paris, Chronica Majora, ed. Luard, Rolls Series, II, 192-203. ^ Ed. Mall, p. 156. 

8 Miles is a common word for " knight " in records and other documents. Cf. 
Launfal Miles, the title of Thomas Chestre's well-known poem. 

* Quoted from the English Owain Miles, a rare edition (limited to thirty-two 
copies) published from the Auchinleck MS., Edinburgh, 1837 (see p. 35). This 
poem has been edited also by Kolbing, Englische Studien, I, 99-112. In the 
Latin original (ed. Mall, pp. 174-17S) the bridge is said to have three difficulties: 
first, it was very slippery; secondly, it was very narrow; and, thirdly, it was at a 

124 A. C. L. Brown. 

When Owein has entered the Terrestrial Paradise, he finds a land- 
scape which much resembles that commonly described in Celtic 
stories of the Journey to the Other World : 

Other joies he seighe anough 
Heighe tres with mani a bough 

Ther on sat foules of heuen, 
And breke her notes with miri gle 
Burdoun and mene gret plente 

And hautain with heighe Steven. 
Him thought wele with that foules song 
He might wele liue ther among 

Til the worldes ende.^ 

The high trees, the many birds, and the delicious sweetness of their 
song, which causes the time to pass quickly, mark this scene as 
identical with that described in the Imram Snedgusa and the 
Navigatio Sancti Brandani} 

In view of these similarities to Celtic story, it might at first appear 
probable that Owain Miles is at bottom some Other- World tale about 
Sir Twain which has been entirely remodelled and worked over on 
the pattern of Christian vision-literature. A moment's consideration, 
however, shows that the Other-World landscape is not a sufficient 
basis for argument, since it was a conventional part of the descrip- 
tion of the Earthly Paradise in Christian visions before the date of 

dizzy height. Another English poem called Owayne Miles (Kolbing, pp. 113-121) 
describes this bridge thus : 

Ouur })e "watur a brygge )>er was, 

ffor soj'e kener J>en ony glasse; 

hyt was narowe and hit was hyje, 

oneJ>e t^at ojjur ende he syje; 

The myddyll was hyje, ))e ende was lowe, 

hyt ferde, as hyt badde ben a bent bowe (w. 413 ff.). 

Compare the bridge which Cuchnlinn, according to the Tochmarc Emere, had to 
pass on his way to Scdthach's abode. This was low at both ends, high in the 
middle, and so constructed that, when a man stepped on the one end, the other 
end would rise aloft, and he would be thrown down (see p. 75, note i, above). 

^ Ed. of 1837, p. 41. The corresponding passage in the Latin Tractatus (ed. 
Mall, pp. 181 ff.) Is by no means so close a parallel to Celtic story. 

2 See pp. 85 ff., above. 

Twain. 125 

the Tractatus} Moreover, when one considers that the similarities 
between Owain Miles and Celtic story are almost entirely lacking in 
the Latin Tractatus, it seems more likely that the tale was originally 
a vision and that the similarities to Celtic story have been introduced 
later. Any connection, therefore, between Owain Miles and Sir I wain, 
Arthur's knight, becomes exceedingly doubtful, especially in view of 
the fact that Owain or Owen is a very common name among the 


Not only did Chretien dress up the story of Twain in the costume 
of the age of chivalry, but it is practically certain that he also 
greatly modified some of the incidents and introduced a number of 
his own. This is especially true, as has been said, of the latter 
portion of the Ivain. 

In the case of the Magic Fountain, which occurs early in the 
poem, there is no way of being sure that the rain-making qualities 
of the well may not have been attached to the story, and the fountain 
localized at Berenton, before the time of Chretien. 

The Fountain Perilous, as is shown by its connection with the 
Wonderful Tree and the marvellous singing birds, must be in origin 
that noble well which is a part of the Other-World landscape in 
ancient Celtic story. As soon as the supernatural character of this 
fountain became confused, it might plausibly be described as only a 
marvellous spring or well existing somewhere on this earth. This 
change we know actually happened in very early Irish story. In the 
Mailduin, § 20, we find the fountain represented as a religious mar- 
vel that gave milk on Sundays and wine on holy days. The fountain 
of Other- World story once thought of as magical, it would be easy 

1 The Other-World landscape appears in the Visio Tnugdali, composed before 
1 1 60 (see p. 90, above). 

126 A. C. L. Brown. 

for it to be localized and identified with one of the many magic wells 
that were believed in during the Middle Ages. It is not uncommon 
for these wells to be represented as rain-making,^ so that it is likely 
that such a quality had been connected with the Fountain Perilous 
before the materials came to the hand of Chrdtien. It is clear that 
in the Ivain the Fountain Perilous is meant to be identified with the 
Fountain of Bdrenton in Armorica. Now Wace, writing a few years 
before Chr^tien,^ described this Fountain of Bdrenton, and verbal 
resemblances seem to show that Chretien had Wace's account at 
hand when he was describing the journey of Calogrenant. It is 
possible, therefore, that the localization of the Fountain Perilous at 
Bdrenton is due to Chretien, whose interest in the Armorican foun- 
tain may have been aroused by the recent narrative of Wace. This 
inference, however, does not necessarily follow from the fact that 
Chretien seems to have borrowed a few phrases from Wace.' Even 
if the material which Chretien was using already connected with 
Berenton the fountain that Iwain visited, the French poet may well 

1 Giraldus Cambrensis (l 146— 1220), in his Topographia Hiberniae (dist. ii, 
cap. 7), describes a fountain in Munster such that if it be touched, or even seen, 
by a man, forthwith the entire province is inundated by rain. The rain vpill not 
cease till a priest is sent to celebrate mass in a chapel which has been built near 
the fountain. (Cf. other versions of the Wonders of Ireland : see K. Meyer, 
Folk-Lore, V, 304.) This mention of a chapel reminds one of the chapel near 
the Fountain Perilous in the Ivain, where Lunete was confined. It is usual to find 
the ruins of a chapel near a magic or holy well. See M. and L. Quiller-Couch, 
Ancient and Holy Wells of Cornwall, London, 1894. In Lady Guest's J/flW«D^'«K, 
I, 226, there is a modern tale about a lake, near Snowdon in Wales, called Dulyn. 
If water be dipped from this lake, and poured on a stone called " the red altar," 
it is rare that rain does not fall before night. In J. M. MacKinlay, Folklore of the 
Scottish Lochs, p. 222, there is an account of a blue stone near Skye on which 
water is poured to produce rain. 

2 Roman de Rou, vv. 6400 ff., ed. Andresen, pp. 284 ff. Wace's story is very 
simple : Hunters used to go to Berenton and draw water. They poured a little 
water [by chance] on the stone, and rain followed, " I do not know why." 

2 In 1843, Benecke, in his edition of Harmann's Iwein (note to v. 263), com- 
pared Wace's account of Berenton with the description of the Fountain Perilous. 
Maury, Les ForHs de la Gaule, 1867, p. 332, said that Chretien was guided by 
Wace. More recently, Baist has pointed out the similarity of phrases in the two 
accounts (see p. 23, above). 

I wain 


have turned to Wace to see what he said. The question must there- 
fore remain undecided, with the probabilities in favor of the view 
that the Other-World fountain had already become rain-making 
and had been identified with Bdrenton before Chretien took up 
the story.* 

The incident of the magic ring that renders the hero invisible is 
probably only a modification of some episode of the original tale, for 
no property of the fairies is better known than their ability to be 
invisible at will. On the other hand, the bleeding of the corpse in 
the presence of the slayer looks like a plain addition by Chre'tien. 
The belief referred to seems to have been Germanic rather than 
Celtic,^ and the probability is that the educated French poet intro- 
duced the incident into his narrative as a chance embellishment. 

The ring which was given by Laudine to Iwain, which will release 
him from prison, keep him from loss of blood, and free him from all 

1 The origin of the rain-malcing power ascribed to the Fountain of Berenton is 
of course a different matter. Numerous instances of fountains of the sort occur 
both in and out of Celtic territory. Gervase of Tilbury in his Otia Imperialia, 
written about 1212, describes (Leibnitz, I, 990; Liebrecht, pp. 41-42) acertain very 
clear fountain in a province of the kingdom of Aries, into which if one threw a 
stone, forthwith there arose a mist from the water and drenched the offender. 
In the same work (I, 982 ; Liebrecht, p. 32) there is an account of a lake on a 
mountain called Cannaguin in Catalonia. No one could find the bottom of this 
lake, and it was regarded as the habitation of demons. " In lacum siquis aliquam 
lapideam aut alias solidam projecerit materiam, statim tanquam offensis daemoni- 
bus, tempestas erumpit." Gervase adds a story about a girl who was carried 
off by the demons and imprisoned for seven years in the lake. (This passage was 
compared with the fountain in the Ivain by Grimm, Deutsche Mythologie, 1835, 
p. 338 ; 4th ed., p. 496 and note 4.) Rain-making fountains are described by Alex- 
ander Neckam (1150-1227) in his De Naturis Rerum, bk. ii, chap. 7. Gregory 
of Tours (De Gloria Confessorum, cap. 2) has an account of libations offered at a 
certain lake in order to bring rain. Cf. the account in Pausanias, how a priest 
used to dip an oak branch in a certain water in order to procure rain (Frazer's 
Pausanias, VIII, 38). For other references, see San Marte (Alwin Schulz), Die 
Arthur-Sage, p. 1 53 ; Bellamy, La Forlt Brkhiliant, II, 1-32. ' 

2 See Grimm, Deutsche RechisalterthUmer, 3d ed., pp. 930 ff. ; Holland, Crestien 
de Troies, p. 157 ; the same, Chev. au Lyon, 3d ed., p. 57 ; P. Paris, Romans de la 
Table Ronde, I, 293, III, 378 ; Hist. Lift., XXX, 249 ; Strack, Blutaberglaube, 
1892, p. 125. Christensen's Baarefr4>ven, Copenhagen, 1900, I have not yet 
seen. He appears to regard the idea as Celtic (cf. Herrig's Archiv, CVII, 109). 

128 A. C. L. Brown. 

evil, must probably be regarded as a part of the Celtic material that 
came to Chretien's hands. It will be remembered that this ring was 
lost by the hero when he overstayed his time and thereby incurred 
the hatred of Laudine. The messenger of Laudine appeared just at 
the moment when Iwain remembered that he had broken his promise : 

Et Ja dameisele avant saut, 

Si 11 oste Panel del doi (w. 2776-2777). 

Light is thrown on this incident by a comparison of the parallel 
fairy mistress story of Desire. Here th^fie gives the hero a ring by 
means of which he is able to control as much gold and silver as he 
likes. She tells him' : 

Si vus meffetes de nent, 
L'anel perdrez hastivement ; 
E si 50 vus seit avenu 
Ke vus aiez Panel perdu, 
A tuz jorz mfes m'avez perdue 
Sanz recoverer e sanz vdue. 

The hero offends the fSe by revealing his relations with her, and, as 
in the case of Iwain, he forthwith loses both her and the ring. 

The ring, therefore, is a gift of the/i^, a token and an evidence of her 
love, and is lost the moment her displeasure is incurred. Ahlstrom^ 
has explained it as originally the ring that brought the^^^ to the hero 
whenever he desired. A gift of this nature would naturally be taken 
away when the love of the fie was lost. Whether Ahlstrom's expla- 
nation is well founded or not, it seems clear that the ring might 
easily be a development or a partial rationalization of some magic 
gift' made to the hero by the. fie. We may compare the magic ring 

1 Ed. Michel, Lais Inidits, p. 15. 

2 Milanges -Wahlund, pp. 297-298. 

" In the Imram Brain, for example, a magic branch of silver with white flowers 
is given by the//« to Bran. When she desired it again "it sprang from his hand 
into hers, nor was there strength in Bran's hand to hold the branch." In the modem 
tale The Knight of the Green Vesture, in Waifs and Strays, III, 223 ff.; the fie 
gives the hero " a stone of virtues." " There is not a virtue that thou needest 
for thy body that thou shalt not find as long as thou keep'st it." It will also take 

I wain. 


presented to Lancelot by the Lady of the Lake.^ On the other hand, 
a ring given by the heroine to protect the hero from disease and 
danger is a rather common feature in the romances.^ The possi- 
bility, therefore, that Chretien himself introduced this incident cannot 
be altogether denied. 

The departure of the hero after he has obtained his mistress was, 
as we have seen, an essential part of the typical fairy mistress story, 
but the motive that is assigned, — fear lest the hero should lose his 
fame in arms, — we may be sure is of Chretien's own introduction. 
Foerster's declaration of this, with his comparison of Chretien's 
earlier romance, the Erec, where this motive is especially dwelt on, 
is quite to the point.' It is natural that Chretien, in attempting to 
square the Celtic folk-tale to contemporary manners, should minimize 
the mysterious character of the lady's country and explain the hero's 
return by the necessity of his maintaining his fame as knight. To 
Chretien's own invention, then, may with confidence be attributed 
the speech put into the mouth of Gawain, in which Iwain is urged to 
return to Arthur's court and to the tournaments. 

The helpful lion certainly seems to be of Chretien's introduction. 
Upon his entrance into the plot the parallelism to the Serglige and 
the other stories of its type ceases. Chretien appears to have com- 
piled the remainder of his romance chiefly from the usual chivalric 
material of the chansons de geste. Some of the incidents of this latter 
part may, indeed, have belonged to a more primitive tale about Iwain 
(the episode of the Castle of 111 Adventure and probably also that 
of the Giant Harpin are in origin Celtic), but in general they bear 
no distinct marks of such origin. Baist has pointed out that the 

him in a moment whithersoever he wishes. Similarly, in a story of Dyeermud 
(outlined above, p. H2, note 2), the hero is given a ring that, when he looks at it, 
"will keep him from cold, thirst, and hunger" (Curtin, Hero-Tales, p. 488). 

1 Chretien's Lancelot, vv. Z348 ff. ; Merlin, ed. Paris and Ulrich, II, 57 ; 
P. Paris, Romans de la Table Ronde, III, 126, IV, 80. 

2 In King Horn (ed. Lumby, vv. 561-576) Rymenhild gives her lover a ring that 
will protect him if he thinks of her (cf. Child, Ballads, I, 201, note). In Richard 
Coer de Leon (Weber, Romances, II, 64) the hero has rings that protect from 
drowning and from fire. 

s See his Erec, Rom. Bibl., XIII, xvii-xviii. 

130 A. C. L. Brown. 

latter part of the Jvain is much more in the chivalrous style than 
the first. We begin at this point to be told of Iwain's hearing mass 
in the morning, and several knightly combats in the twelfth-century 
manner are introduced. The judicial battle against the Seneschal 
to prove Lunete's innocence and the combat with Gawain are of this 

There is, therefore, no special reason to doubt that Chretien intro- 
duced the thankful lion into the Iwain story, and a study of the 
narrative seems to make this inference probable. The whole treat- 
ment of the lion is carried out con amore. The animal puts in an 
appearance at every adventure, and his exploits are made so promi- 
nent that he almost becomes for a time the real hero of the tale. 
Iwain is always unable to win till the lion comes to his aid. The 
extent to which this is carried seems to show that, like the psycho- 
logical discussion of the motives of love in an earlier episode, the 
lion is a pet idea of Chretien's and therefore probably of his own 

The question why Chrdtien introduced the precise motive of the 
lion is naturally a difficult one — most probably because Iwain had 
already acquired the title " Knight of the Lion " and Chretien chose 
this method of explaining it. 

The title " Knight of the Lion " is one that might easily become 
attached * to any Celtic hero because of the common custom of bear- 
ing a lion blazoned on the shield. In the Book of Leinster^ the 
Dinnshenchas of Lumman Tigi Srafain (Straffan, Co. Kildare) gives 
as the etymology of lumman ("shield") the word leoman ("lion"), 
because, adds the Dinnshenchas, " every shield has a lion on it." 
The curious incident of Iwain's carrying the wounded lion in the 
hollow of his shield ' may possibly be a misunderstanding or modifi- 
cation of an earlier form of the tale in which the knight's shield bore 

1 Compare, for the custom of giving a knight a title from some animal, the 
Knight of the Swan, the Knight of the Eagle {Hist. Litt., XXX, 269), the Knight 
of the Dragon {Prose Perceval, II, 19). Sir Degrevant (Thornton Romances, 
V. 1035) had a lion on his shield. 

2 R. I. A. facsimile, p. 49. 
' Ivain, vv. 4655 ff. 

I wain. 1 21 

the figure of a lion. Moreover, a very similar explanation of Iwain's 
title is actually given in the Prose Lancelot. The story runs thus ' : 

On Easter Eve Lyonel came to King Arthur at Camelot to be knighted. 
A beautiful damsel presently arrived, leading a fierce lion crowned. The 
lion feared the damsel so much that it dared not stir. The damsel said 
that her lady was the loveliest in the world, but that she would marry no 
man except him who could slay the lion in a fight. She would not tell 
who her lady was. He must know it who should slay the lion. Lyonel 
undertook the combat. He seized the lion by the throat in his strong fists 
and strangled him, "a«(/ Yvain the son of Urien carried the skin of that 
lion on his shield., and therefore was called li chevaliers au lyon" Lyonel 
returned with the damsel and married the lady. 

If Iwain was already known as the " Knight of the Lion," ^ it 
would have been natural for Chrdtien to introduce the motive of the 

^ Summarized from an extract printed by Jonckbloet (Le Rotnan de la Charrette, 
pp. ix-xii, foot-note) from MS. A of the Prose Lancelot. MS. B reads a little 
differently : " Et celui jor otroia-il [Lyoniaus] la peau del' lion [i Yvein] k porter 
en son escu porce que messires Yveins li avoit aidie son escu a porter la veille de 
la Pentecoste et li avoit fet fere d'or fres." 

2 Both Rhys (Arthurian Legend, pp. 142 ff.) and Ahlstrom {Milanges-Wahlund, 
pp. 299 ff.) have proposed theories to account for the connection of the title 
" Knight of the Lion " with Iwain, but both have deservedly met with little favor. 
Rhys's theory is, iu brief, that the Welsh word lieu (" light ") became perhaps 
confused with another word Hew (" lion "), and that in this way the lion came to 
be regarded as a solar symbol. Since RhJ>s interprets Iwain as a sun hero, he of 
course thinks that solar symbols might naturally be connected with him. Ahl- 
strom's theory is almost as unconvincing. He points out that in the fairy mistress 
story Guigemar, the hero is from Leonnois, and his father is called " Sire de 
Liun." He thinks it possible that " Sire de Liun " might get changed into " Sire " 
or " Chevalier au Lion." The hero of a fairy mistress tale like Iwain might there- 
fore be called "Chevalier au Lion." In a popular attempt to justify this title 
Ahlstrom sees the origin of the Helpful Lion story. Paris (Rotnania, XXVI, 
106) rejects Ahlstrom's theory as being somewhat forced. It is, however, just 
possible that the ascription of a helpful lion to Iwain was due in part to the fact 
that, according to Celtic tradition, he was aided by helpful animals. Owen's 
ravens that fought his battles vrill be remembered. (See Loth, Les Mahinogion, 
II, 308, note; Lady Guest, Mabinogion, II, 438.) Helpful animals are a very 
common feature of later Celtic stories of the Journey to the Other World, and 
often their services come in at precisely the point where the lion enters the Ivain, — 

132 A. C. L. Brown. 

thankful lion, especially as it seems to have been one which was 
much to his taste. Such a motive was doubtless familiar to him 
from mediaeval romantic material. 

Foerster has suggested -^ that the source of the incident is the lion 
of Androclus. More recently, Gaidoz ^ has discussed the question at 

Gaidoz points out that the Bestiaries do not contain the lion 
episode. He infers that the theme was brought from the Orient, 
" where alone it could naturally have originated," by some crusader. 
Now there was an historical crusader, Golfier de las Tours, of whom the 
story is told that he saved a lion from a serpent and was afterwards 
followed and aided by the lion. Gaidoz makes it appear probable 
that this story existed early' and might have reached Chretien's ears.' 

namely, where the hero finds that he has lost his mistress and that a long series 
of adventures must be gone through with in the hope of regaining her. See 
Curtin, Hero-Tales of Ireland, p. 394, where a helpful dog appears; cf. Campbell, 
Popular Tales, ed. i860. III, 1-18, I, 165 ff. The cooperation of an animal with 
his master outside of fair play is an incident found in the Book of Leinster. See 
the account of the combat of Conall and Lugaid, Revue Celtique, III, 185, where 
Conall's steed "Dewy Red" bites Lugaid. Cf. Cuchulinn's steed "Grey of 
Macha," I.e., pp. 176-183; Henderson, Fled Bricrend, p. 89. 

1 Lowenritter, 1887, p. xxiv. 

2 Milusine, V, 217-224, 241-244, VI, 74-75. 

5 The Golfier story occurs in a chronicle of 1 188 ; see Paul Meyer, Chanson de la 
Croisade contre les Albigeois, II, 378-380. Despite the fact that Philipot (Annales 
de Bretagne, VIII, 56) is inclined to question Gaidoz's argument, it seems clear, 
therefore, that this tradition about Golfier may have existed early enough to have 
been accessible to Chretien, though of course it cannot be regarded as certain that 
it was his precise source. For the story of the faithful lion attached to certain 
early saints, see Maury, Croyances et Ligendes du Moyen Age, Paris, 1896, p. 247. 
For references to the story of a lion saved from a serpent and showing his grati- 
tude by following his rescuer, see Holland, Crestien von Troies, pp. 161-164, and 
cf. Guy of Warwick, ed. Zupitza, E. E. T. S. (Auchinleck MS.), pp. 256-259 ; Roman 
de Ham, ed. Michel, Histoire des Dues de Normandie, Societe de I'Histoire de 
France, 1840, Index at the word lyon, p. 411. 

* The carved church door from Iceland (not earlier than 1180-1190), preserved 
in the Royal Museum at Copenhagen and described by Komerup (Mim. de la 
Soc. des Antiquaires du Nord, 1869, pp. 245 ff.), is thought by Gaidoz to portray 
the story of Iwain and the lion ; but Bugge {Home of the Eddie Poems, p. 70) is 
probably right in referring it to Wolfdietrich. 

Twain. 133 

The remaining incidents of the romance are most of them evidently 
of Chre'tien's own introduction and are probably not all from the same 
source. The combat with giant Harpin ^ and the whole episode at 
the Castle of 111 Adventure seem to be of Celtic origin, and may have 
been attached to the story of Iwain before the time of Chre'tien. 
There is no way of deciding the question, and it is of slight impor- 
tance. A probable explanation of Chretien's extensive insertions 
and additions toward the end of the romance is that he desired to 
bring his piece up to the length of his Erec, Cliges, and Lancelot. 
He may also have been unwilling to close the romance without includ- 
ing a little of the knightly service to ladies which was a convention 
of his time. Hence, perhaps, Iwain's rescue of Lunete and his com- 
bat for the Daughter of the Black Thorn. 



It is convenient to bring together in this chapter various parallels 
found outside of Celtic literature, even though they may agree with 
the Ivain in many other points beside the landscape. In general, 
this motive of a marvellous landscape is likely to be the most distinct 
and the surest method of recognizing a rationalized Other- World 

The most important of these parallels to the Ivain is probably 
the episode of " The Joy of the Court," in Chretien's Erec,^ a brief 
summary of which follows : 

Erec, accompanied by his wife Enide and his friend Guivret le Petit, 
rides up to a chateau surrounded on all sides by water. It is the castle of 

1 Compare Arthur's fight with the Giant of Mont St. Michel (Geoffrey, x, 3). 

2 Erec, vv. 5367-6410. 

134 A. C. L. Brown. 

Brandigan. Guivret advises him not to go in, because for seven years the 
city has had an evil custom : those who enter must essay the adventure 
of the Joy of the Court, from which no one has ever returned. Erec enters. 
The people bewail him. He is magnificently entertained by the king, 
Evrain, in the royal palace. On the morrow he essays the adventure. 
The people again lament. There is a magic orchard enclosed " par nigro- 
mance " with walls of air, so that no one can enter unless his presence is 
desired. It produces flowers and fruit summer and winter; he who attempts 
to carry away any of the fruit is unable to find his way out. Erec and the 
multitude enter ^ this orchard by a narrow passage. They are delighted by 
the song of the birds, but are horrified at the sight of pikes, on each of 
which is a human head. A single pike is empty, and on this there hangs a 
horn. Evrain explains that the empty pike awaits the next adventurer of 
the Joy. Erec takes leave of his companions and goes forward. Beneath 
a sycamore tree he finds a lovely girl on a silver bed, but he is speedily 
attacked by a gigantic warrior in red armor. After a desperate conflict, 
Erec is victorious. The vanquished warrior explains that his name is 
Mabonagrain. He loved the lady so much that he promised her anything 
she desired. She thereupon compelled him to take oath to remain with 
her till some knight should vanquish him in arms. Thus she has kept him 
in her magic prison for seven years. It is not his fault that the heads are 
on the pikes. He has been cruel for love. Erec is told to sound the horn, 
for that will be the signal of the knight's deliverance, and then the Joy wUl 
begin. The adventure terminates by a recognition between Enide and the 
beautiful lady, who is her cousin and whom she loves very much. To our 
astonishment, we have no definite explanation as to what the Joy of the 
Court really is. 

No one can read this summary, — still less, the original text of the 
episode, — without feeling confident that it is not, in its present form, 
the creation of any one man's fancy. Its confusions and irration- 
alities could only have resulted from the distortion of an earlier 
supernatural tale.^ Every one wishes to know how the name " La 

1 The entrance of the whole multitude spoils the mystery of the wall of air. 
An earlier form of the episode must have been different. 

2 The confusion of this episode has been so clearly brought out by Paris 
(Romania, XX, 148-166) and by Philipot (Romania, XXV, 258-294) that I 
need only refer to some of the more glaring irrationalities. Paris and Philipot 
agree that it is a distorted fairy mistress story of the type of the Ivain. 



Joie de la Cort" originated ^ what the magic wall of air and the 
horn are for ; why the persons concerned, and especially Evrain, 
are so much pleased at having the enchantment ended ; and, above 
all, how Enide can love the beautiful lady so dearly, when it is 
clear that it is the jealous passion and the ferocity of this same 
lady that have brought about the whole adventure, including the 
utter savagery of the heads on pikes. These enigmas are insoluble 
if the episode be considered by itself ; but they may all be explained 
if it be regarded as a partly rationalized fairy mistress story, 
parallel to the Ivain} 

The scene of the adventure is on an island. This brings it 
close to the Condla, the Bran, and the Serglige, and suggests 
a comparison with the Welsh Isle of Avalon. The royal enter- 
tainer, Evrain, who feasts the hero splendidly, is a parallel figure 
to the Hospitable Host in the Ivain. Both entertain the hero 
for the night, and in the morning send him forth to the adven- 
ture of the Other World.^ The scene of Erec's adventure is 
enclosed by a magic wall of air, so that no one can enter, any 
more than if it were surrounded with iron. There is, however, 
" une estroite antree," evidently a trace of the Perilous Passage 
motive, by which the place may be reached. The interior is an 
orchard, and the trees have the well-known unfading quality of 
the Other World: 

Et tot estd et tot iver 

I avoit flors et fruit meiir (vv. 5746-5747).* 

' Paris supposes that this name is due to some mistranslation. Philipot con- 
nects it -with the Irish Jnis-Subai (ile de Joie), a name applied in Condla, § 6, and 
Bran, § 63, to the Other World. 

^ The apparent ferocity of the lady is merely a survival of her primitive super- 
natural character. No adventurer surmounts the perils of the passage to the 
Other World except the one chosen by the fee. 

2 Probably the Hospitable Host in the Ivain originally directed the hero to the 
scene of the adventure, much as Evrain does. 

* Cf. Ivain, vv. 384-385 : 

An toz tans la fuelle li dure, 
Qu'il ne le pert por nul iver. 

136 A. C. L. Brown. 

The orchard abounds in the singing birds of the Other World : 

Ne soz ciel n'a oisel volant 

Qui pleise a home, qui n'i chant 

For lui deduire et resjoir, 

Que Pan n'an i peiist oir 

Plusors de chascune nature (w. 5755 f£.). 

Erec experiences the same joy at the singing of the birds that Iwain 
feels at the Fountain Perilous : 

Qui mout se delitoit el chant 

Des oisiaus qui leanz chantoient (w. 5770-5771). 

Erec advances alone, just as Calogrenant does ^ in the Ivain : 
Seus, sanz conpeignie de jant (v. 5879), 

and finds a beautiful girl 

Dessoz I'onbre d'un sicamor (v. 5882). 

Near by, on an empty pike, hangs a horn. 

It will be observed that we have here almost all the important 
features of the Other-World landscape. Though much confused, the 
scene is evidently in one respect more primitive than that in the 
Ivain, — it lacks the rather absurd method of challenge by pouring 
water on a rock and thus provoking a terrible storm.^ 

Light is thrown on this episode by comparing the incident of the 
Castle of 111 Adventure in the Ivain} Both are extremely confused 
rationalizations of visits to the Other World. As Iwain approaches 
the Castle of 111 Adventure, the people by the roadside bewail his 
fate. After he has passed an abusive porter, he comes to a row of 
pikes : 

S'avoit devant un prael clos 

De peus aguz, reonz et gros (vv. 5191-5192). 

1 Cf. Ivain, vv. 176-177 : 

Que je seus come paisanz 
Aloie querant avantures. 

2 The close parallel between the giant knight Mabonagrain, clad in red armor, 
and Esclados the Red should be noticed (cf. p. 116). 

8 See vv. 5107-5770. 

Iwain. 137 

It is not said that there are any heads on the pikes, but the analogy 
of the Joy of the Court episode and of a multitude of Other- World ' 
stories makes this a fair inference. This idea is confirmed by the 
fact that every man entertained at the castle is obliged in the morn- 
ing to fight for his life against two goblins, — a state of affairs that 
must have furnished a good supply of heads. It is in an orchard, 
as in the Erec, that the hero finally finds the inhabitants, — a beauti- 
ful maiden and her father and mother. As Evrain plays the part of 
the Hospitable Host in the Erec, so these three entertain Iwain 
sumptuously : 

De lui servir tant s'antremet 

Qu'il an a honte et si Pan poise (vv. 5430-5431). 

Nevertheless, in the morning the maiden's father involves Iwain in 
a mortal combat with the goblins, somewhat as Evrain led Erec to 
the duel in the orchard. 

It is distinctly stated in the Ivain that the combat is required. Every 
knight who is entertained must fight. There are many hints that this 
must have been originally the case in the Joy of the Court. It is a part 
of the custom of the Castle of 111 Adventure that, if the knight slays 
the goblins, he is to have the lovely daughter to wife. Iwain has some 
difficulty in escaping from this requirement. Similarly, we may be 
sure that in the Joy of the Court (as in the combat at the Fountain 
Perilous), the conquering hero originally won the hand of the fie? 

1 The heads on pikes have been observed in the Tale of Curoi and in La Mule 
sans Frein. Examples of this motive have been collected in Child's Ballads, V, 
482, and by Schofield, Harvard Studies and Notes, IV, 175 ff. To the many 
references cited in these places I may add one Celtic example of great antiquity, 
in the Siaburcharpat Conculaind from the Lebor na h-Uidre. When Cuchulinn 
visited the Land of Scath (shadow), he saw a rampart of irons, on which were 
seven heads. See O'Eeime Crowe, Proceedings of Royal Hist, and Arch. Assoc, of 
Ireland, 4th series, I, 387 (187 1). Modem Celtic examples, not before collected, 
are: Curtin, Hero-Tales, pp. 66, 214, 381; Hyde, Beside the Fire, p. 39; Yeats, 
Irish Fairy Tales, p. 177; Larminie, West Irish Folk-Tales, pp. 158, 207 ; Celtic 
Magazine, XIII, 25 ; Zt.f celt. Phil., I, 488 ; cf. Groome, Gypsy Folk-Tales, p. 257. 

2 The connection indicated (vv. 5257 ff.) between the Castle of 111 Adventure 
and "I'Isle as Puceles " is worth noting. The Isle of Maidens is an ancient 
Celtic name for the Other World. 

138 A. C. L. Brown. 

Both in the episode of the Castle of 111 Adventure and in that of the 
Joy of the Court emphasis is laid on the universal rejoicing when the 
hero breaks up the marvellous custom. 

By comparing these two episodes, then, we see that, in an earlier 
and more complete form of the type of story which they represent, 
the hero must have been entertained by a hospitable host, who in 
the morning led him to the adventure of the Other World. The 
heads of previous adventurers were on pikes about the place. The' 
hero overthrew a supernatural opponent (a goblin or netun) and won 
the hand of a. fie. In their original form, the stories were evidently- 
close parallels to the Serglige and the Ivain. 

It is interesting to note that the poetic insight of Hartmann von 
^Aue seems to have enabled him to recognize the true Other- World 
character both of the scene in the Joy of the Court and of the 
corresponding scene at the Fountain Perilous. In both cases he 
compares the place to Paradise. In his Erec he makes the beautiful 
damsel say to her lover : 

Ouch wil ich mich vermezzen, 

Wir haben hie besezzen 

Das ander paradise} 

Die selben stat ich prise 

Fur alle boumgarten. 

Als ir selbe muget warten, 

Hie ist inne michel wiinne 

Von aller vogel kiinne 

Und von missevarwer bluet: 

Hie wsr'" daz wesen inne guot (w. 9539 ff.). 

In his description of the Fountain Perilous in his Iwein he inserts 
the lines ; 

Alsus het ich besezzen 

Daz ander pardise (vv. 686-687). 

1 Kolbing (Zt. f. vergleich. Litteraturgeschichte, XI, 442-448) has with great 
probability explained this phrase as meaning the Earthly Paradise, as distinguished 
from Hae. first (or heavenly) paradise. He has also compared the Swedish Herr 
Ivan (vv. 438-439) : " Mik thokte . . . iak vare ij Paradiis," 

Twain. 139 

That this addition of Hartmann's is not due to mere chance 
appears probable from a comparison of Le Tournoiement d' Anti- 
christ^ a poem written about the year 1235 by Huon de Me'ry. Huon 
avowedly used Chretien's Ivain as a sort of model. In his poem he 
tells us that he went to the Fountain in the wood of Berceliande and 
found everything just as Chretien described it. He poured water 
on the stone. The storm followed. After this the birds sang so 
sweetly that it seemed to him "que c'est terriens paradis" (v. 202). 
He adds: 

Li services [of the birds] fu beax et Ions, 
Qu'il firent a lour criatour (vv. 208-209). 

After this a " Mor " appeared. The cowardly Huon surrendered to 
this antagonist, whom he was obliged to follow to the city of Despair 
(Desesperance). "Li Mors" is called "Bras defer" and is "d'Enfer"; 
he is, indeed, one of the lieutenants of Satan. The poem from this 
point becomes a sort of vision. Huon is taken to behold a great 
tournament between the forces of Satan and the hosts of the Lord. 
It is unlikely that Huon de Mery, writing about seventy years later, 
understood better than Chretien the landscape at the Fountain 
Perilous.^ He seems, however, to have connected it, not, of course, 
directly with Celtic stories, " but with monkish vision-literature, in 
which, as has been shown in the case of the Visio Tnugdali and the 
Owain Miles, the conventional landscape of the Celtic Other World 
distinctly appears. Many cases of its occurrence in visions of the 
Earthly Paradise could be collected.' 

1 Ed. Wimmer, in Stengel's Ausgaben und Abkandlungen, 1888, LXXVI ; cf . ed. 
Tarbe, Reims, 1851. 

2 Huon's lines establish with absolute certainty Kolbing's translation of " f eire 
servise " (Ivain, vv. 471-472), which has been adopted above (p. 87). I base no 
argument on the fact that Huon evidently regards the Fountain Perilous as an 
entrance to the Lower World, though this is possibly a significant matter. A 
writer of distinctly monastic tendencies like Huon would naturally identify the 
fairies with spirits of evil. 

8 See, for example, the Metrical Life of St. Brandon, ed. Wright, pp. 9 ff. ; 
Tundale, ed. Wagner, pp. 114-115. Episodes and tales that contain traces of the 
Other-World landscape and are perhaps in origin rationalized fairy stories are 

140 A. C. L. Brown. 

Distinct traces of the Other-World landscape appear in the lays of 
Guingamor, Graelent, Lanval, and Dtsirt. These are all fairy 
mistress stories, and resemble each other so much that a single brief 
summary will illustrate the group : The hero, wandering solitary in 
the wilderness, comes to a fountain or a river, where he meets z.fee. 
He wins her love and remains with her for a time. At length he 
leaves her land and returns to dwell again amongst men. The/^if, 
however, has put some command upon him, which he breaks and 
thereby loses her and her love. He falls into the most profound 
grief, so that after a period of suffering the fie at last takes pity on 
him and brings him back to live in her land forever.^ 

The scene where Guingamor finds they?^ is as follows^: 

Enz el chief de la lande antra ; 

Una fontaine illec trova 

Desoz un olivier foillu 

Vert et flori et bien branchu: 

La fontaingna ert et cldra at bale, 

D'or et d'argent ert la gravala; 

Una pucele s'i baingnoit, 

Sor un grant arbra vit ses dras (vv. 421 ff.). 

In Graelent^ the description is briefer : 

Tant qu'an una lande I'an maine, 
Devers le sors d'une fontaine 
Dunt I'iare asteit h clere fe bale 
Dadens baigneit una pucelle (p. 502). 

common in mediaeval literature. See \Chaucer's\ Dream (Bell's Chaucer, London, 
1878, IIL vv. 439-S°S) ; Romania, X, 474 (where an episode from the Lanzelet of 
Ulrich von Zatzikhoven is quoted) ; Hist. Lift., XXX, 86 ff. (v^here the romance 
of Rigomer is analyzed). Professor Kittredge has called my attention to an 
episode in Wolfdietrich B, sts. 350 ff., which contains not only the landscape, but 
the combat motive in a form that suggests the Ivain. 

1 It will be observed that this summary would apply fairly well to the Ivain. 
The absence of the fighting motive, however, marks the lays as belonging to a 
different type of fairy story. 

2 Ed. Paris, Romania, VIII, 50-59. 

» Ed. Roquefort, Pohies de Marie, I, 486-541. (The lay is not really by 

Iwain. 141 

In Lanval^ we read : 

Tuz suls est en un pre venuz. 
Sur une ewe curant descent ; 
Mes sis chevals tremble forment: 
II le descengle, si s'en vait 

La u il gist en tel maniere, 
Guarda a val lez la riviere, 
Si vit venir dous dameiseles (vv. 44 ff.). 

In Dhiri '■* it is said : 

A une funteine veneit 

Ke suz un grant arbre surdeit; 

Dous bacins d'or tent en ses mains. 

This lay of Besir^ is the closest parallel to the l7iain, because in it 
there is an attendant damsel who plays a part similar to that of 
Lunete, acting as intermediary between the hero and the. fk. In 
this lay also there is a parallel to the ring given by Laudine to Iwain. 
The continuation of Chretien's Perceval by Gaucher embodies a 
number of incidents that are perhaps in origin Other-World tales 
parallel to the Ivain. In vv. 23,292 £f.' we are told how Perceval 
entered an empty castle, by which in a beautiful meadow was a foun- 
tain and a cypress tree. After slaying a lion he finds a maiden. He 
is obliged to overcome a knight called Abrioris. In vv. 23,880 £f. 
Perceval crosses a bridge and finds a beautiful tree and an empty 

Marie.) Cf. Ivain, vv. 422 ff. : 

De la fontaine poez croire 
Qu'ele boloit com iaue chaude. 
Li perrons iert d'une esmeraude, 
Perciez aussi com une boz. 
Si ot quatre rubiz desoz 
Plus flanboianz et plus vermauz 
Que n'est au matin 11 solauz. 

1 Ed. Warnke, Lais der Marie, 2d ed., p. 88. 

2 Ed. Michel, Lais Jnldits, p. 1 1 . On these lays, see Schofield, Harvard Studies 
and Notes, V, 221 ff., and Publications of the Mod Lang. Assoc, of America, 

XV, 121 ff. 

8 Ed. Potvin; cf. vv. 15,426 ff., 22,397 ff. 

142 A. C. L. Brown. 

tower. A girl who is thin and pale at length appears. A giant has 
kept her captive for over two years and wishes to marry her. Per- 
ceval, whose horse the giant kills, fights him and at last slays him. 
In w. 26,496 ff. Perceval crosses a water and comes to a castle 
apparently empty. He strikes on a " table . . . d'arain ovrde " with 
a hammer that hangs by a silver chain, and finally maidens appear 
and entertain him. It is the Castle of Maidens. He is led to the 
chamber of the lady of the castle. In the morning he finds that 
the castle has vanished. He meets a knight, Garsalas, whose 
brother once found by a fountain a fk, who took him to this mys- 
terious castle, where he spent ten years with her. He was called 
"Li Noirs Chevaliers de Valdoune." 

There is in the Prose Tristan ^ what appears to be a confused fairy 
mistress tale parallel to the Ivain, in which a character called Men- 
nonas^ appears playing very much the part taken in the ancient 
Celtic stories by Manannan. A beautiful woman is discovered in an 
island at a fountain, and Mennonas and Mabon contend for her pos- 
session. Mabon, eager to be rid of Mennonas, sends a nef dejoie to 
Cornwall to secure the help of Tristan. Tristan enters the mar- 
vellous vessel and is conducted to the " Isle of the Fountain," where 
he goes through an adventure almost exactly like that of Iwain at the 
Fountain Perilous. His adversary is called Ferrant (Pharant). 

This incident in the Tristan has probably been influenced by 
Chretien's Ivain ; but, if it is based entirely on Chretien's romance, 
the changes made are certainly of a very extraordinary character. 
It seems more probable that it is in origin an ancient tale. 

Finally, there is in Malory's Morte Darthur a partly rationalized 
fairy mistress story curiously parallel to the Ivain ' : 

A damsel comes into Arthur's hall and prays for succor. " I have a 
lady of grate worship and renomme, and she is byseged with a tyraunte so 
that she may not oute of her castel." " What heteth your lady and where 

1 Lbseth, Tristan, pp. 247 ff. This passage was pointed out to me by Dr. 

2 Spelled also Manonas. 

' The story runs through Malory's seventh book, the source of which has not 
yet been pointed out. I refer to Sommer's edition, pp. 215-272. 



dwelleth she, and who is he and what is his name that hath byseged her ? " 
" Syre kyng," she saide, " as for my ladyes name that shall not ye knowe 
for me as at this tyme. ... As for the tyraunt that bysyegeth her . . 
he is called the rede knyght of the reed laundes. ... He hath seven 
mennys strengthe." " Fayre damoysel," sayd the kynge, " there ben kny3tes 
here wolde doo her power for to rescowe your lady, but by cause ye wylle 
not telle her name, nor where she dwelleth, therfor none of my knyghtes 
that here be now shal goo with you by my wylle " (p. 216). 

Gareth, who is called Beaumains, and has just come to court, undertakes 
the adventure. The damsel's name is Lynet. She is sister to her lady, 
who is Dame Lyonesse (p. 235), and lives in the " Yle of Avylyon (p. 255). 
The Red Knight, whose name is Ironsyde, is challenged by blowing a horn 
that hangs by a sycamore near the sea (p. 236). The bodies of many 
knights, who have failed in the adventure, are to be seen hanging on trees. 
Gareth conquers the Red Knight, but the fair Lyonesse refuses to receive 
him till he has been enrolled among the number of worthy knights. 
Gareth is so distressed by this that he rides " thorou marys and feldes and 
grete dales ... for he knewe not the wey, but took the gaynest waye in 
that woodenes that many tymes he was lyke to perysshe " (p. 243). The 
Damsel Lyonesse, however, takes pity on him, and he is lured back to her 
castle by her brother Gryngamore. But when Gareth becomes too forward 
in his love, Lynet conjures up an armed knight to attack him. Gareth slays 
the knight and hacks him into small pieces, but the damsel Lynet puts him 
together again as well as ever, and also heals Gareth's wounds (p. 249). 

Gareth now decides to depart, in order to engage in a tournament. Dame 
Lyonesse presents him with a ring that will keep him from losing blood 
and give him the power of changing color, so that he may not be known 
{p. 257). Gareth has a number of adventures, in one of which, by over- 
coming a hostile knight, he frees thirty ladies who are imprisoned in a 
castle (p. 266). His final adventure is a single combat with Gawain 
(pp. 267 ff.), in which the heroes at last recognize each other. Immediately 
after this combat we are told how Gareth finds again the Lady Lyonesse 
and marries her at the Castle Perilous beside the Isle of "Avylyon." 

It is fair to say that, as this story is given in Malory, it is confused 
by a number of intervening adventures omitted in the above sum- 
mary. The parallel to the Ivain is, however, unmistakable. The 
name and character of Lynet, and that of the Red Knight, who must 
be overcome before the mysterious lady can be reached, are enough 
by themselves to establish the parallel. 

144 A. C. L. Brown. 

There are a number of points in which this late tale preserves 
more primitive incidents than those in the Ivain, as our study of the 
Ancient Celtic Other-World stories makes clear. The coming of a 
messenger from a mysterious land whose name she is unwilling to 
disclose closely parallels the coming of Liban in the Serglige. As 
Arthur's knights show reluctance to accompany Lynet, so Cuchulinn 
did not desire to go on a woman's invitation. An incident of this 
kind is only hinted at in the Ivain. Lynet in Malory is the sister of 
the lady, just as Liban was to Fand. The Ivain does not mention 
such a relation between Lunete and Laudine. The mode of challeng- 
ing the Red Knight by blowing a horn appears to be simpler and 
more primitive than the Rain-Making Fountain features of the Ivain. 
The power of conjuring up supernatural warriors who must be over- 
come but are not really killed, ascribed to Lynet (and therefore by 
inference to her lady), is exactly the power that the primitive fie 
must have had. The ring presented by Dame Lyonesse to Gareth, 
which gives him the power of changing color so that he cannot 
be recognized, reminds us of the shape-shifters in Other-World 
story, from Manannan to Avartach of the Many-Colored Raiment. 
It is noticeable, too, that there is no thankful lion in Malory's 

Is this, then, a confused survival of a form of the tale of Iwain 
older than that told by Chretien ? When one considers the close 
parallelism that must have existed between many Celtic Other-World 
tales of the same type, such an h)rpothesis seems unlikely. At sev- 
eral points, for example, the tale in Malory agrees with the Joy of 
the Court Episode, as opposed to the Ivain : e.g., in mentioning the 
relics of former adventurers placed about the scene of combat, and 
in describing the tree at the place of challenge as a sycamore.^ It 
is more likely, therefore, that we have in Malory a late and extremely 
confused form of an ancient Celtic Other-World tale which some 
transcriber, noticing its resemblances to the Ivain, has worked over 
to make the resemblance still closer, and that this redactor has 
named the lady's messenger Lynet. 

1 See Erec, v. 3882 : 

Dessoz I'onbre d'un sicamor. 

I wain. 145 

In view of the repeated appearance in the later romances ' of these 
apparent survivals of Celtic tradition, not all of which can reasonably 
be ascribed to chance, it seems fair to infer that there were once in 
existence, and known to the French romancers, numbers of Celtic 
Other-World tales, parallel to the Ivain, which have now been lost. 



This investigation has shown that parallels to every important 
incident of the main portion of Chretien's Ivain, namely, the portion 
extending from the beginning to the appearance of the lion, — are 
found '^ in ancient Celtic stories belonging to one clearly defined type. 
Most of the themes thus traced appear united in a single Irish Other- 
World tale, the SergUge Conculaind^ In the case of the more impor- 
tant of these themes, such as The Giant Herdsman, The Other- World 
Landscape, Marriage with the Widow of the Slain Warrior, and The 
Broken Promise and Madness, the parallels are of the most signifi- 
cant character. No reasonable doubt can remain that the main 
portion of the Ivain is at bottom a Celtic Other- World tale of the 
type represented by the Serglige. Numerous parallel fairy mistress 

1 E.g., " Li Noirs Chevaliers de Valdoune " (Avalon), p. 142, above ; the mys- 
terious character, "Mennonas" or "Manonas" (Manannan.?), p. 142; and the 
numerous cases just pointed out in Malory's story. 

2 Except the rain-making character of the fountain. It has been shown, how- 
ever, that the Other-World Fountain was apt to pass into a mere magic fountain 
(see Mailduin, § 20) ; and the localization of the story at Berenton, which probably 
happened before Chretien, will account for the precise rain-making features. On 
marvellous fountains, cf. Louis de Nussac, Les Fontaines en Limousin, Culte, Pra- 
tiques, Ligendes, in Bulletin Archeologique du Comite des Travaux historiques et 
scientifiques, 1897, pp. 150-177. 

^ The proof, it will be observed, rests on the ancient tales. The chapter on 
modem Celtic parallels is meant to be corroborative only. 

146 A. C. L. Brown. 

stories, partly rationalized (such as the Joy of the Court episode 
in the Erec), furnish all the auxiliary evidence that can be fairly 

This view is supported, not only by a host of parallels, but by the 
fact that it alone will explain all the inconsequences and inconsis- 
tencies of the present form of the Ivain, which, if the tale be regarded 
as Chretien's invention, one is obliged most unjustifiably to neglect. 
Any other theory is compelled to regard the entire romance as essen- 
tially a jumble of incidents, arranged without any definite thread of 

That such an hypothesis about the Ivain should ever have been 
entertained is due to the fact that the original character of the story 
has been considerably confused, and that towards the end a number 
of adventures do seem to have been introduced, the present arrange- 
ment of which is almost entirely accidental. 

These disconnected adventures are to be explained in the follow- 
ing way. The analogy of stories like the ancient tale of Loegaire and 
of well-nigh all the later Celtic tales, supported by the general pre- 
sumption that almost any story will in time acquire a happy ending, 
leads one to suppose that the ultimate reconciliation of Iwain to 
Laudine, and probably also a journey of wonderful adventure that 
led him back to her land, formed a part of the Celtic material that 
Chretien used. Chretien has evidently kept but few of the original 
adventures that led up to the reconciliation, but has substituted for 
them others better suited to the taste of his time. In particular, he 
has introduced the brilliant decorative feature of the Thankful Ljon. 
This motive he has interwoven with some skill into all the adventures 
that follow, except the combat with Gawain, of which it would mani- 
festly have spoiled the point. 

The Ivain has then but one source, a Celtic Other-World tale, 
which had been slightly modified by the addition of rain-making 
features to the fountain. Chretien has rationalized this tale so far 
as it was possible and has dressed it up in the costume of the twelfth 
century. He has made the warriors knights in armor, and the/^« a 
courtly lady. In the latter part of the tale he has inserted several 
conventional knightly combats to please the taste of the age of chiv- 
alry and has interwoven the favorite theme of the thankful lion. 

Iivain. 147 

This view does not represent Chretien as having made up the 
Ivatn out of his own fancy, nor as having compiled it from various 
entirely disconnected sources; but it does credit him with having 
put upon almost every line of the poem the imprint of his own per- 
sonality. The intricate discussion of motive by which Laudine's 
change of mind is sought to be explained, shows the touch of the 
twelfth century trouvire. The touching, if to our notions somewhat 
naive, pathos of the grateful lion reveals the handiwork of the well- 
informed courtly poet. 

This view leaves a scope for Chretien's activity really as great as 
that occupied by Tennyson in the composition of the Idylls of the 
King. Chretien made over a fairy tale into a chivalric romance ; 
Tennyson has made over chivalric romances into allegories with 
mystic meaning. Each has read into older material the ideas of his 
own day. 

Our problem in determining the sources of Chretien is something 
like that which one may imagine a scholar about the year 2500 might 
have in ascertaining the sources of Tennyson's Idylls, if we could 
suppose that all of the older literature about Arthur had perished 
with the exception of a limited number of French romances, none of 
which chanced to contain any of the precise stories put into English 
verse by Tennyson. Absolute demonstration in a problem of this 
sort is evidently impossible. It is believed, however, that the theory 
of a Celtic origin for the story of the Ivain has been shown to possess 
extraordinary probability, — a probability far greater than should be 
enough to determine its general acceptance.